24 December 2008

2008 progress

Looking back through the posts for me is always a good time, when you are on the coalface every day it is hard to see how things are progressing and it always seems to be moving forward at snail's pace. That is one reason why I wanted to keep the blog, as well as being able to keep our friends overseas updated. This week has been pretty slow as we wind down to Christmas. Here in New Zealand Christmas is really the start of summer, lots of people take a few weeks off to hang out at the beach, get away from the city, swim and maybe catch a few fish. So Christmas parties are a combined wind-up of the year and the start of holidays, so lots of us go hard at party time! By the time the big day comes around there is no more shopping to do, kids are out of school for the next 6 weeks, (hopefully) the sun is out and the business suit has been hung up on the floor for a while. Yippee!

The last couple of weeks of Weta work has been tied up with mocking up the new galley layout (again) to allow us to work out the cutouts in the floor. I have made reasonably detailed sketches and made lots of measurements for the galley making company to quote on. One of the major things behind that whole planning process is the need to be able to get the completed units into the boat. This affects the way each unit is built. No good having a great galley in the cockpit...

I have finalised the location of the stove and was very happy to find the new gimballing system works! It swings sideways and has saved a lot of really useful space.

The other thing I have been playing around with is improving the cockpit coaming storage. It has always been a dark, cramped area and stuff as always disappearing. With larger access holes I will now be able to tidy up the waterproofing and give the area a decent finish. This photo shows the new holes marked out and one cut.

This shows the completed cuts. It really does make the cockpit seem a lot bigger. I have found some poorly stuck fiberglass so it will be a nice little grinding job, Tyvek suit in the middle of summer. Can't wait!

03 December 2008

December already?

We lost a week recently as the weather turned good - too nice to work on the boat after a wet cold winter. So, not as much visible progress as one would like but you have to remain positive and keep chipping away at the coalface. The tanks and battery storage area under the galley/head floor is coming along. I made the comment to Bill recently that the first bit - cutting out the ply, goes really quick and unfortunately always make you feel it is nearly finished. However, then the real work starts, glueing, glassing and fitting the cleats for the floor.

Tonight I tested the new cockpit plan by standing the binnacle in place. I think it will be great, we have moved it back so there is room for one person aft of the wheel, which of course means that the area in front of the wheel now feels like a dancefloor!

I can sit on the aft hatch and reach the wheel, a great improvement. It will also mean that when we are standing looking forward over the top of the dodger, people can get past you to the other side of the boat.

Up front I have been plugging away, pouring heaps of epoxy into the voids that existed between the top and bottom skin. I have begun to sand the deck, it is very exciting! Did I mention I can hardly stand up?

15 November 2008

Another week another bulkhead

We have finished preparing the area between the forward end of the engine room and the mast. This involved another unpleasant afternoon grinding back to clean fibreglass but we were a lot better prepared than last time and it went far more quickly.

Once that area was ready we glassed the keel over with chopped strand mat and vinylester resin, ready for diesel, water and holding tanks.

Then Bill cut the new bulkhead out and this has now been glassed in place. Before we could do this we needed to cut the forward ends off the engine bearers and we filled the cut-outs in the front. The engine beds will be self-contained and any spilt fluids will stay in there and not be rinsed over any other parts of the boat.

The hole for the old engine instruments has been stripped back and the new bulkhead is now attached to both the front end of the cockpit and the engine bearers. It will be a great improvement over the old bulkhead that was not attached to the deckhead.

While I have been scratching my head and working out where the new tanks will fit under the floor, Bill has been rebuilding the cockpit floor, which was extremely flexible. The 6 layers of new glass and 24mm of plywood should provide some sound insulation as well as providing somewhere to screw things on above the engine.

01 November 2008

Stage 2

Well, how exciting! The last 2 days I have spent with my number 1 tool, a crowbar, removing the next stage of the boat. It went from this:

To this at the end of day one

To this at close of play yesterday. I found that working in jandals/flip flops/slippers around the job to be not that clever, as the ring shank boat nails stick really well in flesh and need to be pulled out. Back into my safety boots!

I have cleared back to the aft end of the engine room and our first 2 jobs will be to seal off the top of the keel with vinylesterand chopped strand mat, then we will fit the bulkhead at the forward end of the engine room. That we can fit floors with tanks under. Sounds easy!

On deck I have fitted the front two portlight covers and I am really happy how they have come up. It is completely sealed and the only way it will leak will be under the Lewmar portlight flange.

22 October 2008

The lids off the paint...

The main effort over the last couple of weeks has been the settee berths. We have made these wide enough to be comfortable bunks, about 700mm. This is 80-100mm wider than the old starboard settee berth and the few times I have tested them out, they seem excellent.

Up forrard I have been Interprotecting all surfaces prior to finishing with Perfection Undercoat. It is really stinky stuff and a good vapour mask is essential. If you don't have a fan going your eyes start watering! It is starting to feel more like a boat again, in parts, rather than a demolition site.

On deck, we have glued the fiberglass flat bar into the routed part of the bulwarks and I have been sealing holes by the dozen. Next on the program is adding a layer of filler on the top edge, sand it flat, rout a radius on the corners and fiberglass tape over it all. Can't say I am looking forward to the longboard!

06 October 2008

Watertanks and chainplates

So, the last few weeks have seen the watertanks finally completed, new chainplate members glassed in and the torture of the gunwhale routing finished.

The tanks took a little longer than I had thought, but I believe the results are worth it. My measurements show we should get about 270 litres per side (I think that means about 120 Imperial gallons total, or 135 of those funny US gallons). Breathers will exit up the mast, which should work nicely. There will be another, smaller tank installed to take watermaker production, which in turn will cascade down to the main tanks when full.

The forward and cap chainplates will connect to laminated plywood which has been bonded to the hull, reaching down to the top of the tank and more or less lining up with the tank baffles. This area of the boat should be a lot more rigid than the original, especially with the new bulkheads which are close to the cap chainplates.

The forward cabin has had sealed plywood glued to both the deck and to the sides of the coachroof. We used bendy ply, especially useful for the coachroof sides where we needed to fair the roof into the sides. This has given us a surface that is able to be painted, it won't be completely fair but it will look OK we think. Time will tell.

The forward end of the coachroof was the most difficult and we had to put a few judicious slits in the ply to accommodate the multiple curves. It will require a bit more fairing but should be the worst part of the job, everything else "should" be easier.

The bulwarks under where the genoa tracks will be have been routed out and the fiberglass bar has arrived. Routing out a 20 x 25mm slot 3.5 m long was not pleasant and I blew up one Ryobi router. Still, with the price difference between that and a new Makita, I will be able to blow up another 4.5 Ryobi routers and still be ahead. We are ready to epoxy the bars in place, with LOTS of spare glue to force down the large voids in the bulwarks, where the hull and deck were supposed to be joined (but weren't).

Pretty close to epoxying up the fairlead areas, after I removed the damp and/or rotting wood. I need to look at the original method of securing the fairleads in place as it is not particularly effective. Many of the screws holding the fairleads in did not actually land in anything, which has led to water getting in.

09 September 2008

Spring is coming

With the expected delivery trip from Brisbane to the Seychelles now not happening (a long story), it is now a little easier to get stuck into the job. Main construction work in the forepeak is now finished - finishing and lining yet to do - and our attention is now focused in the saloon area. The next step is constuction of the water tanks, which will be glassd into the hull beneath the floor. We have already covered the top of the keel and the relevant bilge area with several layers of chopped strand mat and vinylester in preparation for this and here you can see Bill has cut out the ply in readiness for glassing in. Yes we have remembered to cut holes out of the baffles!

This shot shows the starboard shelf above the v-berth. It serves to strengthen the panel (quite a large flat surface) as well as provide a little storage.

We have also been busy cutting out holes for the additional deck hatches and portlights. There are two small hatches on top, above the galley and the relocated head, and a portlight on each side of the companionway.

Portlight surrounds are nearly complete, the next step will be to cut the flange down to size and then they will be ready to attach. I have a portlight sitting in place so we can work out how much flange to remove.

22 August 2008

While the cats away...

Very happy to return after a month spent delivering a 109' sportsfishing boat (not my idea of a boat in the slightest), to find progress aplenty. The forecabin has taken shape and we have prepared for the next major bulkhead to be installed, which will be the forward end of the head (starboard) and the forward end of the galley (port).

At the aft end of the bunk there are open-fronted lockers on both sides.

The v-berth has been raised about 80mm from the old level, which should increase it's size as well as improve the stowage beneath. All bulkheads and significant furniture is glassed to the hull, deck and cabintop where posible, so the boat should be a lot stiffer and quieter that the old soggy egg carton.

After stripping off the old glass layer from the top of the keel and allowing it to dry out, we have relaid several layers of chopped strand mat.

This has given a nice smooth area on top of the keel and up the bilges, where the 2 main water tanks will be built in. We used vinylester resin for this as it is the best tank coating.

15 July 2008

The Grind

A great but totally unenjoyable job done recently was to grind the interior of the hull, in preparation of adding bulkheads etc. Three of us worked solidly for about 3 hours, then I finished off over the weekend with about another 12 hours grinding. The dust was incredible, inches thick in the bilge and requiring hours of cleaning up. In preparation for grinding we removed the fiberglass layer over the top of the keel. This revealed a stinking black layer of ooze, made up up of who knows what.

Once the keel started to dry it started look look (and smell) a lot better.

As part of the grinding exercise I cut the backing off the chainplates, leaving a facing that we will tie into the boats structure a lot more effectively. As I did that I was horrified - but not particularly surprised - to find the wood filling in 3 out of 6 chainplates to be past salvaging. One was eaten by termites, the other 2 were wet and rotten. This one shows the termite residue, unfortunately not great detail.

This one shows a screwdriver hanging out of the bottom of the wood, after being pushed in very easily.

Up forward we have added a laminated plywood beam to carry the new Maxwell windlass, with a cross member to support the staysail stay. These are shown still covered with peel ply, which allows us to carry on glassing, painting etc, without sanding, once the peel ply has been removed.

The engine room bilge has had the fiberglass removed to let the underlying cement dry out. I think we need to come up with some ideas about a sump in this area.

26 June 2008

A Start at last

Well, it finally happened - Bill the boatbuilder turned up at my house and we began working on the boat! I had been helping him on another job for about a month, then we raced to Fiji together, which was great as we got to discuss the job a little. Anyway, one of the first jobs that Bill did was to cut a hole in the foredeck. This will be the hatch for the anchor locker, so the bulkhead on the aft end will be watertight. The locker will drain overboard and there will be an empty void under the floor.

One of the unpleasant things we have found (not totally unexpected) is significant rot under the deck. I think the main point of entry was under the forestay fitting, as back in Hawaii we found that the threaded rod connecting the forestay to the stemhead was broken. The fitting had lifted at some previous time and let the water in, rotting the plywood pad under the forestay as well as allowing water to wick back through the plywood core. The centreline appears to be OK, while it is quite rotten along the outboard edge. We have been cutting 73mm holes in various places and heating the inside of the boat in an attempt to dry the area out but I think we might have to be more aggressive with our treatment, maybe more holes and more heat.

The anchor locker bulkhead is all ready to fit and that will make me very happy - it is very exciting to be putting stuff in rather than taking it to the dump!

We can even say something is finished - Bill gelcoated the inside of the locker today and there is nothing else to do to those two surfaces. A small but very satisfying victory.

It has taken me quite some time to finish the cover over the boat, there has been some difficult engineering created to ensure we can park cars, access the garage etc etc, while trying very hard (well a little bit anyway) not to piss the neighbours off. We have had some pretty windy and wet days and it is still in place so fingers crossed it will stay there.

We have also removed the two forward hatches, which both collapsed as soon as the were lifted off the sealant. There is a raised fibreglass lip which is very lightly screwed on to the back of the teak base. We will need to cut these flanges off for the new Lewmar hatches.