Shop Talk from Spaight St. Syndicate: Trust The Engineer…Or Else!

Previously: “That Will Buff Right Out”
Via Daniel Hearn, Spaight Street Syndicate

Trust The Engineer…Or Else!

Since it was determined last weekend at Lake Pepin that I have a weak spine, this weekend it was time to man up. First I removed the ragged skin to the closest bulkheads, sideboard or stringer. Then I cut out the what remained of the old spine. The original T-beam was constructed of 5/8” Sitka, 2-1/2” wide with triangles underneath. I made the new T-beam out of 1” x 3” White Oak with two verticals on the bottom, triangles underneath and horizontally at the bulkhead joints. For additional peace of mind, I added a layer of 45 degree carbon and a layer of biaxial carbon around the entire beam, plus one more layer of carbon on the top. And finally, carbon gussets at each of the corners were the beam and bulkheads meet. This construction should be dramatically stronger than the previous, which would have been fine, had I just followed Pat’s plans.


Rather than using a traditional top-mounted mast ball track, which would have spread the load out across 14” or so, I used a 6” countersunk style. This required the removal of a fair amount of material directly under the mast ball, when the shorter length was already concentrating the load in a smaller area. The mistake I made was not accounting for these impacts. But the countersunk style looked cooler. (That’s what we call “solid” marketing thinking!)


The spine didn’t actually collapse, rather, the track twisted, blowing out the side of the original beam. It was breezy that day on Lake Pepin, so in addition to carrying a bunch of lead, the stays were slacked off, which caused more side load on the mast ball, hence, the twist.


Hopefully the Northwest will be “On” for the coming weekend, so I can give Lorem Ipsum another shakedown, and try to catch Pat!

Spaight Street Syndicate Update: The Other Deuce

And now for something completely different, via Daniel Hearn at the Spaight Street Syndicate.

The World According to Dash
If you’re like me, time always seems to run short when you’re prepping for the first regatta of the season. So, when nature calls, “ain’t nobody got time for dat.” Well, fret no more! Just get yourself a combo rolling work bench/changing station, like my Pappy’s, and do what I do. Drop that deuce right in your pants. Faster than a Struble start, you’ll be back at it before your runner even cools. Critical Hack–Make sure your sanitation engineer clears the bench of any carbon fiber dust. That can be very unpleasant on a fella’s bum.

Spaight St. Syndicate Update: Flat Pack Masts

Mast mania

Daniel Hearn’s mind wanders over to Ikea iceboat mast section…
Spaight St. Archives

Ikea Masts

Ingvar Kamprad built a $40 billion per year enterprise selling furniture in boxes. His future took shape when he realized success depended on the simplest, most cost-efficient distribution from factory to customer. The founder of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, figured out he didn’t even have to make anything to become the richest man in the world (never mind the divorce). He just had to have the best distribution system anywhere.


I’m sure our first billion is showing up in the offshore shell company bank account as I type, now that word is out that you can buy a C-Skeeter mast in a box. If you’re looking for my name in the Pandora Papers, however, don’t bother. The Corp will eventually trace to my wife’s name. She’s the smart one in the family!

Daniel Hearn

Inside Overlap @ Spaight St.

“Two (or insert any number) are just as easy to build as one” has to be one of the top ten commandments of iceboating building. Daniel Hearn checks in with his latest update.
Spaight Street Syndicate Archives

Inside Overlap

When I’m racing catamarans, I like to amuse myself by coming into the starboard gate on port tack. More often than not, some cowboy will come charging in barking STARBOARD!, with gotcha-rage in their eyes, unaware that he has no rights. Makes me laugh every time.


In my basement shop, I am also currently exercising my inside overlap rights. My entitlement is not guaranteed by any rule book, but my wife still let’s me get away with it. She’s been a really good sport about it, but I can tell she’s not amused. I’m afraid by the time first ice comes, my penance will be along the lines of a hooker leaving a confessional. But it will be worth it!


Just about ready for top skins on both the new C-Skeeter and the fixed wing boat.
Daniel Hearn

“Tool Porn”

“To Bodge (v), to make or repair hastily, to MacGyver”

Spaight St. Syndicate
The Spaight Street Syndicate expands its footprint. Via Daniel Hearn:

A sure sign that you’re a major dork is when certain tools tickle your loins. Guilty. But come on, check out this bad girl! If you’re like me, you’ve been lusting after the perfect re-saw machine since you skinnied your first board. Miss August, Tilly Tannewitz, boasts a 5 horsepower motor that will rip your hardwood quicker than a sailor draining a bottle of rum. She insists that Sitka is for sissy saws, but she doesn’t judge, so she’ll still entertain wuss wood. Touch her button and she slowly winds up until she’s a screaming mad woman just daring you to test her metal. With a 1″ carbide-toothed blade, she’s not slowin’ down for nobody. And if you think you need a rounded fence to keep her tracking down the center, forget about it! Set your thickness, and she’s as straight and true as they come.


Tilly is a relatively new addition to the Bodgery, a community shop that I joined just before COVID.  Until now, I’ve never found an economical resource for re-sawing lumber. By the time I would pay a set-up fee and then the hourly rate for cutting at a professional shop, it would still be cheaper to waste a lot of wood in the planer. At $12 per board foot, I just couldn’t do it. So, on my current projects, I ripped the boards to 4″ width, then re-sawed, then planned, then glued the boards back together to get the widths I needed. Material efficient, but labor intensive. Tilly can resaw up to 13″ of hardwood, barely breaking a sweat. I’ve completed my Tilly training, so if you need something re-sawn for your next iceboat build, feel free to hit me up.

A few weeks ago, fellow C Skeeter builder Pat Heppert came to Madison to pick up some high-tech foam to build C Class Skeeter masts. The day started in the original compact basement workshop of the Spaight Street Syndicate, then over to the Bodgery to cut the foam, and then finished at the SSS Launchpad shop.

Getting Framed 2: Still Somewhat Confused

Previous: “Getting Framed
Pat Heppert checks in with a note about his summer project, a new C Skeeter build and his continuing travails with “ACME” customer service.

Wide Hull Somewhat Explained, Still Confused

The ACME Corporation. Wide selection, instant delivery, questionable quality.

The next shipment arrived from ACME Iceboats Inc., and now it is clear why the frames for the new hull are so messed up looking. The mainsheet assembly actually is about a foot and a half wide. But it seems to have three ropes instead of just one and definitely doesn’t seem to belong on an iceboat. May have been a shipping error. So I got on the phone with customer service again, and they insist that this is what I ordered. How exactly do you expect me to deal with three ropes in the cockpit? “Well, sir, the problem is that you failed to also order our rope-less cockpit conversion upgrade”. They didn’t have pictures of this in the catalog; apparently, it is still under development and doesn’t come with a warranty. Again with the credit card, will see what shows up. But what are all three of these ropes for? “Sir, you need to pull on one of them for more power and pull on the other one for more speed.” That explains two of them, but then I asked what is the third one for? “You pull really hard on that one when you want to beat Daniel Hearn.”

Pat Heppert