21 December 2009

What, not Christmas already?

I need more time!!! Bill has been working on another job for a bit and I have been holding off posting because there never seems enough to write about... Anyway, yet another year slips by and what are we up to? When is the boat ready? A recurring theme that I think about when I sit down to write is that stuff has been finished but there is nothing to show for it - well, the good news is that some stuff is finished and does not have to be removed again. This mass of piping is the fuel transfer system, located in the locker under the stairs. The actual pump sits in the engine room, you can see the pipework disappearing through the bulkhead to port.

Engine room doors are finished and painted. They are on lift-off hinges so will remain off until we are ready to close the door on the engine room - a little way off I think. The configuration is a double bi-fold door, so the center 2 sections fold back against the outer doors, which can also be opened to allow access. Any time serious work needs doing, we will lift the doors off and move them out of the way.

A few more finishing touches are appearing, here is the sliding door that covers the starboard side hanging locker in the aft cabin. Bill worked out some nice touches with some plastic sheet so when open or closed it will not flop sideways as we roll.

I installed the main gas line from the gas locker aft, right through to the engine room forward bulkhead. I used some proper rigid gas line so it should last quite a while. Terrostat was used to goo it up into the hull-deck join.

22 November 2009

Sanding and painting

A very unsatisfying time, I must say. Sanding white paint off and painting white paint back on, I am starting to dream about white paint. In reality, it couldn't be much simpler as I have gone for a pretty simple plan. I got over my panic about brush marks and am just happy to have it looking clean and not-so-smooth. I have been rolling 3 coats of Interprotect on top of the epoxy sealer, then sanding that down smooth. The top 2 coats of Perfection Undercoat then get brushed on, within 3 days. So, in effect I am only sanding it once. If I could get self-sanding paint I would.

Bill has been on another job for the last two weeks, hence the focus on paint. I can't really paint while he is here so I have been putting it off.

The photos show the engine room painted out with brushable gelcoat. I have now bolted on a few items and won't be unbolting them - yippee! It is a little pathetic but it gives me a big boost to see things in their final place. One shot shows part of the exhaust system - stainless pipe that I had electro-polished to help against corrosion.

04 November 2009

Memo to self

So, I have finally worked out that going off and doing deliveries for other people does not get my boat finished, especially when I am helping Bill deliver a boat and neither of us is here. Last month I helped bring a boat up to Auckland from Wellington, then helped Bill bring a boat down from New Caledonia. Enough! I really need to sand!

Progress while I was away the first time was good, the aft cabin has really taken shape. Overall the layout is the same, with a hanging locker/cupboard space to starboard and storage to port, forward of the bunk. We have tried to keep it really simple, however Bill was scratching his head to work out how to put the port side locker together, it is a bit of a Lego kit. Looks good though.

We took a collective deep breath and cut the top opening for the new gas bottle locker. The weight of the section cut out is astounding, 10.5 kilos for the hole you see. This works out to 26 kg/m2, no wonder these boats don't bob around like a cork!

Very heartened to see that we haven't managed to kill the entire neighbourhood population of insects off with our nasty chemicals, here you have a weta (family Anostostomatidae) crawling over Weta.

23 September 2009

Spring is here

Another "OMG it's been nearly a month since I posted last"! I keep looking around for new things to write about and it is all a little uninspiring. We are very busy but the list of things to show is small. However, a number of items have been resolved, some finished and the end is definitely in sight! I rebuilt the back end of the boat shelter so we can access the transom area. The last section of the old cap rail has been removed, showing some large cracks in the join. If you look closely you will see a putty knife handle, the blade extends down into the fibreglass.

My fuel transfer system is basically complete, it should work...??!! I have since cut all the holes to allow hoses to pass through to the side tanks. It will look good I think.

This space just aft of the mast location will contain most of the pumps and seacocks associated with the head, sinks, watermaker and fresh water tanks. I get very frustrated with plumbing - why is everything a different size! My pile of spares is growing, as a result of visiting the plumbing shop nearly every day and buying the wrong stuff. I will be able to build another boat with what I have left over - on second thoughts there is no chance of that happening.

The steering flat is pretty much done, rudder stops have been fabricated and attached. Rudder line blocks have been bolted on for the last time (hopefully). I have worked out the exhaust run and await Bill's return from his Vanuatu delivery to finish that off.

26 August 2009

While the cat's away - again

Very happy to get back home after an abortive attempt at bringing a boat back from Vanuatu. We made it to New Caledonia but with a broken forestay fitting and a fried gearbox, we weren't going much further. I needed to get back and ensure my project was on track so took the 400-knot-to-windward option. Very heartened to get home and see the progress that Bill has made in my absence. The bones of the aft cabin are all now present and we have spent the last few days developing the plans for the remaining work.

The steering department is becoming more and more complete, just waiting for Sam the stainless guy to finish a couple of turning blocks. We plan to use pvc pipes to run the steering lines (8mm Vectran) between the aft and forward turning blocks, it will keep things very tidy. The old aft head teak grating will be altered and re-used in the shower.

02 August 2009

Starboard Tank

The bulkhead aft of the engine room is now in and Bill is finishing off the starboard fuel tank. We have left a channel of 150mm at the front of the tank to allow us to run wiring and fuel pipes, hopefully we will have enough space.

The port fuel tank is finished and Bill has built the floor for the cockpit locker. I am hoping we can fit the watermaker membranes between the tank and the locker floor, I have been fitting some PVC pipe for ventilation (in and out) but I have also been spending some time just staring and working out where everything will run. It would be really good if it all looked like it was planned!

I collected the engine from the dealer who was holding it for me, it was a real job getting it off the trailer without killing ourselves, but it now has pride of place in the corner of the garage. It makes it much earier to size plumbing and to plan wiring and piping runs.

I have been busy sorting out the fuel transfer system. As we will have the engines feeding from and returning to the center tank, I have worked out a system where we can fill the side tanks, and transfer from them to the main tank. It all sounds complicated but I like the idea of a "day tank", where I can monitor fuel consumption etc. I have built in some ability to create a fuel polishing system in the future.

It makes the center tank access plate a little more complex, but the payoff should be a simplicity of use - i.e. no valves to change and no chances of a misdirected return overfilling a tank.

18 July 2009


Well, one more completed tank - the fuel tank located to port of the engine. I made the decision to go with the new ultrasonic fuel tank sensors from BEP Marine, it will be interesting to see how they work.

We have also sorted out how the headliner goes and it has come out really well. So far we have done just the forepeak, more of a proof of concept than anything, however it is amazing how "finished it looks with it in place. The rest of the boat should be easy!

As part of the headliner process we have had to add a few bits of trim, this example is the deck collar trim. We had to guess where the mast goes through - quite a challenge!

27 June 2009


Things have been pretty cold recently, I did contemplate wearing shoes one day. It has just warmed a little and the keel attracted so much condensation the water was running down it. Sanding the bottom is progressing steadily with me doing a little each week.

The rudder has been fabricated and is now ready to add the foam and glass. There has been much discussion but I hope that we have made it strong enough. I did not dismantle the old one to see how that was constructed so we did a little guesswork, erring on the more substantial side.

Interior work has been focussed on finishing touches. This shot shows the forepeak hatch surrounds and the Kauri trim, which will separate the headliner from the coachroof sides.

The galley is finally all together and is now awaiting my varnish brush to fill in the gaps.

The headliner trim in the head and above the chart table. It is pretty near straight!

08 June 2009

Torment of the longboard

I will be able to crack walnuts with my manly chest soon, longboarding the hull is a real workout. Basically sanding above my head with a meter-long length of sandpaper attached to a plywood board. As I have mentioned before we are attacking it one small section at a time. First of course, I need to grind the high spots off with the big grinder. Thank heavens for cold beer.

Finally the stainless bench tops came back from the metal workers, we glued them on with Ados F38 (High Temperature) glue, which we left to set over the weekend. There was a bit of concern because there was a little heat distortion around the edges of the sinks but thankfully the glue seemed to handle that and everything has pulled down OK. Bill is now fixing these in place, which will allow us to finish off the trim. Then I can follow on with my painting.

We made a little box to hold the engine stop/start. This is located under the companionway and can be reached from the cockpit. It should be a nice dry place, even though it is a waterproof panel. The box will also hold the switches for the nav lights, mast lights etc.

There are a few things on the go, Bill has also started on the bulkhead at the aft end of the engine room. This is the first pattern made, just sitting in place prior to being taken down and transferred to the 12mm ply.

The engine beds have also been raised to allow for the new engine. The bilge underneath has been smoothed off and re-glassed, once we have it all painted things should be nice and clean, making it easy to keep dry. I don't mind dust in the bilge!

20 May 2009

Little things

... and lots of them!  In the last couple of weeks we have completed the chart table, added the first bulkhead in the aft cabin, created an instrument box for the engine panel, done the final preparation of the engine bay, and probably more that I can't think of right now.

Bill has started the hull fairing process.  It is going to be a long and painful job.  I need to find a fit young thing who is happy to longboard above his head, for next to nothing.  Is anyone that desperate for work?

The engine bay has been an interesting exercise in working out how the boat was constructed.  What we have found is that there was a ply dam built about halfway along the engine beds, extending down into the keel.  Once the cast metal keel was lowered into the keel, fine concrete was poured around and on top of thekeel.  The lifting rings for the metal keel were cut off (badly) and the void aft of the keel was then filled with polyester bog.  Bill's guess is that they used talc as filler.  Unfortunately the top of that was never covered by a protective fiberglass covering so over time, water soaked down the sides (and through) the polyester bog.  After sitting out of the water and being kept dry for a year, this bog is still damp if you chisel it out as we have been doing.

The first aft cabin bulkhead!  I know, its only a little one, but it is something else to celebrate with a cold beer.  Sometimes you need to look for things to be excited about....

08 May 2009

A month?

I can't believe it is a month since I posted - time flies when you are having fun I guess. Colin and Nichola on Emerald will be feeling good, having posted more than me!  This picture shows the varnished galley, with the fridge fitted (its the black bit).  It is a Waeco 30l compressor fridge drawer, the compressor can be moved off the back of the unit and we have mounted that away from the fridge compartment.

Having had a dose of the flu, just when the swine flu was breaking, was less than exciting, I lost about a week of work.  Bill made me wear a mask all the time - which he had decorated as a pig's snout.  While I was flopping around wishing I was somewhere tropical, he was making progress on a few time consuming but worthwhile jobs.  This shot shows the chart table, tucked into the corner between the head and the bulkhead on the forward side of the engine room.  It should work well, lots of space to throw junk!

I cut the 108mm hole for the rudder bearing and have had the rudder stock machined.  We left it in one long piece so we could align the top bearings with the shoe on the skeg.  One cold morning last week we had a panic when I couldn't get the stock to turn after I bolted on the shoe.  We found that the skeg had bent quite a few mm as there was lovely warm sun on one side, while the other side was frosty cool.  Once I hung a cover up and allowed the hot side to cool off, all was well.

So the rudder shaft is now in place, our stainless wizard Sam will turn up next week possibly and we will tack the frame of the rudder in place.  Hopefully nexct blog we will see a rudder hanging off the boat!

Bill has also fitted the door surrounds to the head and the forward cabin.  I am trying to follow up with varnish and paint in the weekends, with a little success.

06 April 2009

Galley has arrived

The aft cabin has seen a little action, I removed the aft chainplate the other day. Just a bit of dry rot, so glad to be rid of it. We will add split backstays which will enable 2 radio aerials as well as allowing us to have a gate in the middle of the pushpit.

The poorly glassed over area on top of the shaft log got opened up and smoothed out. I cut grooves in the top with a grinder and then chiselled the rubbish out with a scewdriver. As we have come to expect, there were numerous holes and the overall standard of glassing was extremely poor. I poured thinned epoxy done the holes first, followed by several layers of thinned out microballoons. Bill is now building this area up so any water drains forward, and so we can glass over the top to create a nice clean finish.

The rudder post is becoming more and more real, I sourced a lump of 2" prop shaft off a friend and passed that to a machinist. They will mill a 32mm square on the top and ensure the finish off the shaft is good enough so the 2 lip seals on the rudder tube will work, without letting water in. I will be disappointed if this area leaks, to put it mildly.

So, the galley arrived! Bill has spent two days so far fitting it into the boat, as the manufacturer left excess on certain edges so we can soak up the exact shape of the space. I spent all weekend sealing with thin epoxy and varnish.

This shot is looking forward from the companionway and shows a little of the final finish. It is all solid wood (except panels which are ply) and has a very professional look to it. Worth the money I hope, the Chief has given her stamp of approval and specified stainless steel for the benchtops. The finished product will be good to use.

21 March 2009


It has been one of those periods where time seems to slow down, with seemingly little progress. We have finally finished the glassing of the hull, after waiting for unseasonal weather to move on. As we have decided to build a new rudder, I realised that I needed to buy the new propeller, so we can design the rudder around it. After getting recommendations from most of the leading manufacturers, the consensus was a 20 x 15" 3 bladed feathering prop. With the requirement for 20% of diameter as tip clearance, I needed to grind more of the aperture out to give 24", or 12" on each side of the stern tube. It was a surprisingly easy job and gave us another opportunity to admire the craftsmanship of the original builders (not!).

Inside the boat the head has been progressing well. This shot shows the painted area prior to final fitting of the front panel.

Then the vanity unit was attached and the inboard bulkhead was glued in place. I have been painting after work and in the weekends to try and keep ahead of Bill. The paint (InterProtect) is pretty smelly so we try not to work around it as it dries.

We have worked out the dimensions and position for the chart table, and Bill has fitted the first part - the top. We should be able to use full-sized charts, folded, which is ideal I think. The boat is beginning to lose that "large" feel!

The aft cabin is ready for grinding, which I will do when Bill has a couple of weeks on another job soon. Then one last bulkhead out and there will be no old boat left! Can't wait.

A little purchase last weekend, a rowing/sailing dinghy. Haven't had a chance to float it myself yet, maybe tomorrow. We will probably work out a system to attach a 2hp as well. I also need to get it up onto the boat somehow to ensure it fits on deck!