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Christine makes a Puddle Duck Racer

Making a daggerboard

The hull is essentially done except for finishing and it's time to start on the foils. The daggerboard and rudder. They are to be made of soft pine covered with epoxy and fiberglass.


Another Delay in my PDR build

We decided to sell our house and move. So the Puddle Duck Racer went back to the back burner, or rather the garage, then storage. Fast forward a year and a half. We have moved, sort of settled in and finally had some of the stuff we had in storage delivered, including the PDR. It spent a couple of months on sawhorses till the workshop was finished.

pdr in snow

Christmas came and went and finally I dragged my little boat over the snow, to the newly constructed garage/shop/library.

It's funny that a boat that can be built in a week has taken almost 3 years (and is not finished.)

I brought her in, dried her out and put her on sawhorses. Meanwhile while she dried, I started making the daggerboard and rudder.


Making the Daggerboard

I got some pine cut the boards and re-glued them to proper width.

saw set up pdr in snow

Since I don't have a jointer, I'm cutting really carefully and starting with very straight boards.

I used a feather board to keep the wood against the fence. It worked very well and my boards went together with no trouble at all and no gaps.


clamped panel pdr in snow

I clamped everything securely. Since I'm hoping to end up with 3/4 inches and the boards are just a tiny bit thicker, I can't afford to have any uneven boards. I clamped the ends and the middle so that the boards were not sticking up and down.

When I lined up the panels I rotated some so the grains would not all run the same way. This is done to help prevent warping of the panel.

The next day the panels were dried and I used a paint scraper to remove the glue that had squeezed out.

putting the board through the thickness planer shaping the daggerboard

I sanded one side to even it out and passed the panel in my thickness planer. This worked really well and I ended up with a nicely surfaced board that was just 1/16 of an inch less that the 3/4 inch or slightly more, I want to end up with. Since I still have to epoxy and fiberglass the panel it will work out well.

I had glued up one long panel to make both the rudder blade and the daggerboard. I cut it in 2 parts.

After drawing out the profile on the end of the board I used a block plane to shape it. It gave me a very good finish. The profile should be a proper foil shape but when I made the daggerboard case I did not allow enough width to make a proper NACA foil. The shaping went really well with the plane.

I'm planning to use a 55 square foot sail and a rule of thumb for the daggerboard is 4% of the sail area. This is according to the pdr website. It looks about right too. The rudder blade should be half of this.

sanding the daggerboard shaped daggerboard

Clear pine is quite soft and I was able to sand out any rough curve left by the plane. You can see the profile on the end of the board. I have since then modified it slightly.

Here is the daggerboard ready for final shaping and for a handle. I think I will just make a couple of holes at the top and run a fat rope through and use that as a handle.

I noticed that my board had warped some. I would hate to have to re do it. I tried a trick I had used in mounting panels. I wet the side that was concave. Not sopping wet but damp. I then put that side down against a panel covered in plastic. I hoped that the wood would expand and correct the cupping. It worked very well and after glassing the board is flat. I think in this case, the warping was due to uneven drying rather than the wood actually pulling itself out of flat. Sometimes a warmish iron on the long convex side does the same thing.

fiberglassing the puddle duck racer daggerboard shaping the daggerboard

Adding a coat of fiberglass will stiffen the daggerboard and make it stronger than the soft pine I used. After coating the board with epoxy I draped cloth over the daggerboard and aligned it carefully on one side. I was working on a flat surface covered in plastic. I used a plastic spatula to spread a thin coat of resin in the cloth.


fiberglassing the puddle duck racer daggerboard fiberglassing the daggerboard

I had stuck 2 finishing nails on the ends of the board so I was able to suspend it between 2 benches to do the second side. It was harder working upright but it worked. I did not put any glass on the very top edge and the very bottom. I'll wait till everything is set and will add a piece of glass on the bottom. I don't think it's so important on the very top edge.

We've been having arctic weather and the shop is not very warm. When I went the next day, I was able to trim off the edges of the fiberglass because it was still slightly soft. I used a piece of wood to push down any little glass whisker. It's too cold to add another layer of resin today.


fiberglassing the puddle duck racer daggerboard

Glassing the tip had me thinking. The flat sides had been covered but the bottom still needed doing. The glass will not go around a corner and stay in place. Eventually I stretched it on dry using tape and put resin to cover the overlap. When the epoxy had set but was not hard, the next morning, I was able to cut the top layer of glass and remove the ragged edges leaving the bottom neatly covered. There must be a better way but I don't know what it is.

After testing the daggerboard in the pool I realized that it was too light and will have to add some weight so it actually stays down. Some people have melted lead into the board but I'm not keen to do this. I've been collecting tire balancing weights so I have lead if I need it. I think I would rather epoxy weight in place in a drilled hole.

Here is a link to how I added weight to the puddle duck daggerboard.

Many people prefer to put a lea board rather than daggerboard. It keeps the centre of the boat free of centreboard case and it saves weight. I still prefer daggerboards.



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