28 November 2007

More destruction

Over the last couple of days I have found that there appears to be a lack of connection between the forward bulkheads and the hull of the good ship Weta, above about 500mm from the waterline. Construction seems to have been that the headlining material was added before the bulkheads, as I needed to pull the plywood filler layer and the headlining material out from the gap between the bulkhead and the coachroof.
I have ripped out the forward head and found major rot in the plywood floors beneath the sink unit and the plinth the head sits on. You can see the fiberglass shelf that attaches the floors to the hull, unfortunately the floors themselves have gone missing in action. Who knows what was holding it all together for our trip home, although this does allow me to understand how I could shorten the backstay by 100mm and still not be able to get decent rig tension!

25 November 2007

The boatbuilder's answer

Well, my mate Bill who will be doing the boatbuilding work on the boat visited and we discussed how far we should go back into the remaining ply. Bill tapped around and found that the plywood I thought was solid was actually not - so we go a chisel out and cut a hole back to the underlying glass. Then we decided to lose all the plywood completely, as you can see from this shot.

Another major decision that I have made is to replace the existing opening portlights, with either new, modern opening ports or with fixed ports. As we are removing the interior plywood that packs out the old ports, we would need to cut the outside lips of these down as they would protrude through. As well as the extra work involved, we would also then be back to trying to make them watertight - an uphill job. New ports usually fit from the outside in, so immediately you have sealed the port surround and reduced the leak potential.

The teak trim simply unscrews, once you have removed the teak plugs. You can see again here how the headliner is wrapped over the top of the teak veneer ply, then the solid teak trim attached.

This shot gives a wider view of the forward end of the coachroof, with some trim removed.

About 3 minutes later, with trim removed and crowbar utilised to pull the screws out that hold the layers of plywood on. We will refinish with the modern method - flowcoat, coving, painting. It should give us a clean, light and spacious feel.

Oh yeah I have also removed a lot of the wiring and rubbish from the engine room.

This shows the headlining partially ripped off, with the deck beam exposed. You can see the amount of water damage on th eteak which gives you an indication of how much this boat leaks.

The covering piece of thin teak has been levered off and the retaining screws removed. The headliner can then be peeled off the deckhead.

18 November 2007

The start

The hull has been gel-planed and 3 mm was taken off. This was done a few months ago and it is quite noticeable how much drier the glass looks.

Another view

Last weekend I removed the caprail from the front half of the boat. Lots of the screws had rotted out so it was relatively simple to unscrew the remaining ones and prise the rail up. Interesting, one side was bedded on a silicon-type material, the other was on putty.

A couple of shots showing the hull with no cap rail. We probably won't replace it as it was.

A shot of the forepeak looking forward from the doorway. The white patches are the remains of the fiberglass strips that held the teak backing pads. The bulkhead at the aft end of the chain locker was completely rotten.

I have removed the teak trim and pulled the delaminated plywood off, removing the portlight in the process. The headlining material is covered by the teak trim, which is just screwed on and plugged.

Detail of the forward end of the coachroof. The remains of the plywood are visible, but you can see how that ply is glued over the packing plywood, which appears to be screwed on. I am trying not to go any further!

A view of the foredeck with windlass, bow roller, headstay and cap rails removed. I need to move some rubbish!

17 November 2007

The trip home

After 3 months in Hawaii we were ready to go, considered mad by some folks we met - you know, the kind that has been living in the marina for the last 10 years "working" on the boat getting ready for the big trip... We picked up a crewman who owned his own boat and had a little experience and moved to the Hawaii Yacht Club to clean up. The first trip under power was a little nerve-wracking, no sails to fall back on and we had to go outside the harbour!

While at the HYC I re-wired the boat, fitted SSB and VHF radios, finished erecting our hand-me-down dodger (thanks again Jeff!), added lifelines, built the stern pulpit, bolted a liferaft on and finished off a legion of little jobs. We had a couple of trial sails, a very good move as during the first one we found that the tack of the forestay was popping off the deck...

Eventually we could find no more excuses to hang around and off we went. The first leg was to Fanning Island, part of Kiribati. The expected NE trades were sadly more E - SE so it was 1004 nm on port tack, winds on the beam or just forward.

There was not much at Fanning, just a few good sleeps and then we pushed on. With no watermaker and with only a limited number of water jerry cans we were concerned about the 1600 nm trip to Tonga, as we could get no drinking water at Fanning. Fortunately, we were lucky when crossing the ITCZ and had a relatively smooth ride, no calms or squalls. Unfortunately, again the wind was on the port beam or just forward, so we were getting used to where the leaks were dripping.

Tonga was a welcome stop. Neiafu, the main port in the Vava'u group, is well known to us and certainly felt more like home. I was met by my partner Lisa and my son Will who were on a charter boat with friends, so it was the first chance for them to see the boat.

After nearly a week of relaxing and fixing things (nothing major), Vicky had decided to fly the last leg and that left the remaining 2 of us for the last leg to Auckland. Again, we were very fortunate as we had the perfect weather window for the trip, with a big fat high sitting over the northern part of New Zeraland, giving us, well, easterlies. Another 1300 nm of wind on the port beam or forward.... To break that momentum we did have a few windy days and had the storm jib out by itself one night so we could rest a little, jogging along at about 4.5 - 5 knots.

It was fantastic to arrive back in the country, I was really spaced out after going hard for 5 months. We cleared in at Opua in the Bay of Islands and took a few days to cruise down the coast. It was very cold for us (late winter in NZ) so the oven got a workout at night.

Arrival in Auckland was fabulous, good to see friends again and have a nice long hot shower.

16 November 2007

The story thus far....

Weta is a KP44, built in Taiwan in 1977. I am her second owner, having found the boat advertised for sale in 2004. It appeared to be the sort of KP44 I was looking for, totally run down and cheap. It was a bonus that it was in Hawaii and I could (hopefully) get it back to New Zealand for a re-build. I travelled to Hawaii in September 2004 and had the boat surveyed, which confirmed my impressions of a boat that needed a lot of love. Due to the flight schedule I had 4-5 days to inspect the boat and the owner generously allowed me full access. Apart from the day-long formal survey I spent the remainder of the time poking around, as well as a good part trying to decide if I really wanted to do this. It was a very sad and sorry looking "mess" at that stage. Lots of list writing and staring into space, basically. Based on the surveyors recommendations, I made an offer that was realistic for the condition and state of the boat. This was refused but after I returned to NZ we kept "negotiating" (as in I kept saying it was the only offer he was getting...) until reality bit and the owner accepted the offer. I wasn't sure if I was glad or sad - definitely concerned and thinking "what the hell have I let myself into!!".

Once the deal was done and the money paid I started planning, eventually returning to Hawaii in April 2005 with my friend Vicky in tow. She was between jobs and needed a change and turned out to be a fantastic asset for the 3 months we spent preparing for the trip home.

We did a little website for our friends and family while we were there, unfortunately towards the end we got very busy and tired so it took a back seat. You can visit that site here.

The focus of the first "refit" was to get the boat to a safe state to undertake the 4,000 nm trip back to NZ. Any time making things look pretty, or even nice, was considered wasted and so you will see some pretty rough work (but fast...).