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Rolling stone under sail

Rolling Stone's hull was a five layered mahogany "cold molded" construction. Here it's still upside down, still in the process of being planked.

Upside down hull being planked

After the Natoma was complete and moved out of the shop, we had room to turn the hull right-side up. 

preparing to turn the hull over
These hoops were rolled up out of heavy angle iron by the steel works next door. I built special rollers for the whole arrangement to roll on.
turning the hull over
The arrangement of these hoops is designed to bring the hull to the correct level to be mated with the 6,700 lb lead ballast keel.
turning over the hull
Meanwhile, the 6,700 lb. ballast keel was being poured in it's redwood mold. The lead is melted in a giant cauldron using the scrap wood for earlier builds, and hand poured.
pouring the lead keel
Before much work was done on the upright hull, I had to build a stainless steel structure that incorporated three deck beams, the chain plates to hold the stays, and a bolt-up for the mast. The structure ties into the three frames that run down to the mast step, to which the ballast keel is bolted, forming a solid unit from the top of the mast all the way to the bottom of the keel.
deck beam structure

Measuring this, and getting it to drop into the hull was the tricky part. The deck is curved side-to-side, called camber, and it also curves fore-and-aft, called shear. The three deck beams are not level with each other, as the deck rises toward the forward end. All three beams are made up of 1/4" x 3" stainless flat bars curved both edge-ways (called bending "the hard way), and flat-ways. These were welded together to form H and L sections.

The hull was already built and turned upright, with all the other spruce deck beams in place ahead and behind this structure. So I had to measure carefully, and it had to fit. The geometry was challenging, because of course there are no straight or level lines or right angles on a boat.

The greatest challenge is that the extensive welding causes warping, especially with 304 stainless steel. Getting this to fit required over-curving all three members, using gut feel and experience, so that after welding, it would fit perfectly. The center beam that forms the mast partner was fairly easy, as it has balanced welds top and bottom, and is an H section, not an L section. The L section fore and aft of that were much trickier. For these, I had to bend the flat bar, cold hammering the top edge with a 4-pound (1.8kg) hammer on the shop's 200lb anvil. I had to over-curve it by just the right amount, to compensate for the welding along that edge which would tend to straighten it out again. I also had to edge bend the horizontal legs of the L section by an amount that, after welding, would be drawn back into the flat bulkhead plane.

detail of installed deck beak structure

If I flatted out the deck beams too much with welding, or not enough, not only would they not fit the rest of the deck, but the pointed tangs that run downward to bolt into the frames/ribs would be too wide to go in , or too narrow and not match up. I anticipated that I could adjust shape in one direction with a little additional welding at the crux of the L section, but not back the other way.

After I had it built, we lowered it into place for a fit check. The deck beams were about 1/8 high, as I had planned, so I took it back to the shop to run a couple of extra beads of weld to draw it down into shape. The second fit was perfect.

To me, this was a masterpiece.

another detail of the installed deck beam structure
Below is a good view of the reason for this elaborate structure, enabling the shrouds to be brought well inboard, which makes it possible to close-haul the job, and point closer into the wind. The fore-sail can also be brought in between the lower and upper shrouds, for even more performance.
With that complete, the decking could be completed.
construction continues
After the deck beam structure, I had to build many more hardware pieces. Below is the stainless steel rudder shaft, with a welded skeleton ready to be covered with foam and fiberglass to form the rudder.
Below is the steering quadrant, which goes on top of the rudder shaft, connected by cables and pulleys to the steering wheel above decks.
steering quadrant
Below is structural member that ties the transom together with the keel. The fitting on top holds the back stay, transferring the force to the keel. Properly called the "transom knee", at the time it was popularly knows as the "egg sorter".
transom knee

group photo
Photo credit: Acamar Photo, Alameda California

With the sloop Rolling Stone, Standing, behind the staging: Me; Doug (next to me); Joe Orowski; Jack Ehrhorn. In front, left to right: Bill Zemer; Johnny Gunther; Bud Shaw; Chuck Gorch; Phil; Marc de Millengire (went by Karl at the time); John Whitsett; Dave Shaw (Bud's son)

Ready to launch
Photo credit: Dave Shaw, above and below

rready to launch in the water

I was recently contacted by the present owner of Rolling Stone, by way of this site. He keeps Rolling Stone in Braunschweig, Germany during the winter, and sails some 150 miles or so down the canal to Kiel on the north coast for the summers. Mark has provided many new photos of Rolling stone in recent times, now more than 40 years after the launch.

interior view
Photo credit: Marc Stadtaus
interior view
Photo credit: Marc Stadtaus
interior view
Photo credit: Marc Stadtaus
interior view
Photo credit: Eastern Yachts

Photo credit: Marc Stadtaus

Marc: "The picture [above] is taken around 10 pm and we were on our way across the Northern Sea from Scotland to the European main land. . . . The most interesting thing about the photo is the fact, that the sea is almost flat like a mirror, and we are talking about the Northern Sea. Even with no wind, you would normally expect a little swell, but in this case there is nothing at all, which is really unusual. I can recall this day very well, cause in the afternoon, as we were drifting and laying in the sun (engine off and no sails), we were visited by a pod of dolphins. They were very curious about Rolling Stone and they were diving around and under the ship."

Photo credit: Marc Stadtaus

Marc: [photo above] ". . . was taken the same day, but this time, it's in the morning around 6:00 am and we had a light breeze. One won't believe it, but Rolling Stone is making 7.1 knots on this photo. She is indeed really fast."

Builder: Stone Boatyard, Alameda, California
Designer: William Burnes
LOA 36'      (11.0m)
LWL 31'     (9.4m)
Beam 11.4'     (3.5m)
Draft 6.5'     (2.0m)
Bridge Clearance 48'     (14.6m)
Displacement 12,500 lb     (5670kg)

Photo credit: Marc Stadtaus (above and below)
Rolling Stone at anchor
Newspaper clipping Magazine clipping


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