21 December 2010

Come and help, Santa

I have taken a few snaps to show the process involved in attaching the headliner, as that seems to be all I've managed to do lately. The first step is to survey the deckhead and decide where the velcro needs to go. I have had to allow for lots of bumps, remember to allow for wrapping the vinyl-backed foam around the edges of the sheet, and work out how much you need to hold it all up. I use 2" masking tape to get a good visual, then mark around the edges and measure it all.

Next the hook side tape is stuck on to 2" ply strips, stapled and the staples bent over to ensure everything stays together. Then these strips are used to mark the position on the headliner ply, which is then given a sand to key up for the loop velcro.

The loop velcro then gets stuck down and stapled, staples bent over and we are nearly there.

The hook strips are then pushed on to the loop and we are ready to glue it up. I put dabs of epoxy every 20-30 mm along the hook strips and push the whole headliner up into place. Toms are used with ply offcuts to spread the loads and once the epoxy hardens, we can peel the headliner away from the hook strips and proceed to add the foam-backed vinyl. Done! It is quite a simple process, the most onerous part being bending the staples over to ensure a good, solid bond to the plywood.

25 November 2010

Hard Top

Bill has been working away at creating the hard top for the dodger. First he made a former out of MDF, then the foam was bent over that and glued together. Two layers of 20mm foam will give us a top that will be thick enough to recess some LED lights into, mount 2 GPS aerials on, and be strong enough to walk on. At some time in the future I might add solar panels so we have added sufficient conduit for that as well.

In the last couple of days we have routed out the foam to allow us to glue in the plastic track for the zip-off clears. These will have a surround of some vinyl product, running through the track at the top and clipped down on the bottom. Stainless steel legs will keep it up, hopefully!

Also nearing completion is the headliner for the saloon and aft cabin. Way back we tested our headliner concept in the forepeak, now we are working through and doing the rest of the boat. I just sealed all the liners this afternoon and the next part of the process, gluing the plywood strips to the deckhead, should be pretty close. I've also nearly finished re-varnishing the interior and I just have a bit around the galley to do.

We decided to lose the piano hinge on the back of the cockpit lockers, in place of more robust (and shiny) chromed hinges on the top of the locker lids. To do this neatly Bill has filled in the watertrap area outboard of the lockers. This will now get glassed over and will be nice and strong. It should also channel water down the gutters on the sides of the lids and keep that area drier - time will tell!

25 October 2010

A prayer

Forgive me Colin for I have sinned, it's been a month since my last blog.... Hopefully I will be forgiven by those who follow the blog and eagerly await the next installment of the Weta saga. I would love to think that there are not too many blogs left to go until completion, reality has a way of asserting itself though. Anyway, enough of the rambling introspection, lets look at progress. I have been re-varnishing the interior trims, a slow job with a small brush. That should give us at least 5 coats, probably more. I have been able to put things in place for the final(ish) time, this shows the view down the walkway.

Outside we have been busy with a host of little details and the most recent visible result is the addition of a teak rub rail on the gunwhale. We have only done 25% but I think it will look good, giving us something that will look fair around that part of the boat.

We have also been working on the cockpit teak, plugging holes and sanding. We removed the teak planking overlay at the forward end, this has had a fibreglass backing added and all the holes plugged. The underlying deck has had all the remaining screws removed and has been faired in preparation for the gluing down of the teak. What a mess, the entire cockpit molding is a very poor job. Bill, who has a lot of experience in these things, can see what went wrong and how they bodged it to make it look semi-decent. The only part we haven't faired is the outside of the port coaming, which still has a big bow in it.

Bill prepped the cockpit hatches and I have used Uroxsys to varnish a primer and 1 top coat. It looks fabulous and will improve once I sand the dust off and do the recommended 6 coats - fortunately you can add another coat after about 2 hours so it will only be a couple of days total.

26 September 2010

I was rudderless

But now I'm not! Bill has been beavering away with foam, glass and a planer to finish the rudder. My last post showed the start of the process, with a couple of small infill pieces in place. Once the whole thing was filled and glued in place, he glassed over the flat sheets, using extra tape over the stainless web.

Then, on went a few more layers of foam to build the thickness to the required width.

Once it was in the ballpark he started fairing it to the correct dimensions, which means we had to offer it up a couple of times to add a bit here and take off a bit there.

When it was the correct fit he glassed over the whole thing again, adding extra layers on the trailing edge and around the clamp. A big layer of bog over everything and he is ready to do the final fairing tomorrow.

06 September 2010

Nearly there!

I will be finished with the painting in the walkway and aft cabin tomorrow, at long last. It has taken me longer than I expected, basically the job was bigger than I thought, with a lot more surface area than was apparent. That will be good though, it will really be a shot in the arm to see the last light fittings, switches and plugs in place. Next will be getting some guys in to fit the hull liner into the forward cabin, saloon and aft cabin. Bill has been doing a few smaller jobs, one of which was adding 10mm fibreglass plates to the chainplates. This will hopefully keep them up out of the scuppers a bit. My plan is to make stainless plates to fit over the top of the chainplates, making a secure sealant-filled gasket.

On top of the cockpit coamings we have added a lump of teak which will hold the lower end of the dodger. The thinking here is that water should be kept out of the "watchkeeping" seats at the forward end of the cockpit. Hopefully one day we should be able to actually put that to the test!

The nav station is complete - not wired up yet though! I haven't bought the Fusion marine stereo yet, as you can see by the hole. I had purchased a CD player and stacker when I was in Hawaii but I think MP3 technology has really taken over from CDs and this will save a truckload of space. I will put a remote stereo control in the cockpit, the unit also deals with the different requirements in saloon and cockpit, without having to use the Fade controls.

Bill has just started on the rudder and I want to take photos of each stage of the process. I built the stands to allow him to work on the rudder easily, his first step is to fill the internal holes and create the overall shape using 12mm higher density Divinycell. Then that will get a pretty serious layer of glass, and then the outside layer of foam and glass to produce the finished product.

17 August 2010

Life in a paper suit

Hopefully I have now lifted the engine for the final time! I am sure I said that last time, however that was before we realised I had used the wrong coating in a few areas. Unfortunately on one of my shopping expeditions I had picked up brushable gelcoat instead of Flocoat, without realising. Bill found the problem when he went to use a bit and actually checked the tin! At least now I have a reason why some of my work was not looking as shiny as it should do - the gelcoat is not designed to be a surface coat and remains porous and soft. It is designed to be the first coating over a mould and normally would be over-coated with polyester. Live and learn!

I have been trying to get the aft cabin ready for painting, it is a very unpleasant job and one I need to keep kicking myself to achieve. However, today should be the day so with a bit of luck I should get some paint on this week and the aft cabin will be finished! The weather recently has been cold and wet, not very conducive to sanding or painting. Yesterday afternoon the sun actually appeared so I raced around and slopped a bit of Interprotect over the foredeck. It is interesting to see the difference it makes after the sanded and patchy look of the last 18 months or so.

The cockpit coaming is all done, this picture is a couple of weeks old. Bill has now sanded all the bits smooth and added some teak to the tops of the cockpit side. That will allow us to attach the dodger clips and will hopefully prevent water from running into the wet-weather watchkeeping position. I will get some photos of that at some stage. Bill has also cut the holes for the instruments, speakers and switch panel, we are happy to confirm we can get our hands in behind these to tighten fasteners!

25 July 2010


I have been busy completing the plumbing for the head area, which is now only waiting on the fresh water line to the vanity sink and the breather for the holding tank. There isn't much to see however for a lot of contortion work...

I have been trying my best to keep everything as tidy as possible but I am not completely happy - I wish pipes bent 90 degrees more easily!

Bill was doing his own stuff for a while, but has added the plinth for the binnacle. That is foam and glass, glued to the cockpit floor. I still need to get the binnacle painted but I am considering powder coating it, I need to check that it won't blow the epoxy bog off the aluminium when they heat the powder.

Looking a little like a Star Wars fighter, the forward cockpit coaming is coming together and should be finished soon. Bill has cut out the speaker holes and added a wiring conduit so we are ready to go!

26 June 2010

And then?

There's a movie where one of the characters just keeps saying "and then?" until chaos ensues. Just how I feel! Progress appears incredibly slow currently as we do a host of little jobs. Geoff the sparky has almost finished this phase, he will need to return once the painting is finished and we have laid the lining on the exposed parts of the hull. I am painting the aft cabin but the weather has been cold and damp lately so that has been slow. Today looks good so I'm into it in a moment!

Bill is rocking on with the forward cockpit coaming. It looks high until you put the instruments in place above the hatch, which then brings everything into perspective. Construction is quite simple but I am glad he is doing it, there are a few tricks of the trade he brings along which make it look easy.

The foam is glassed inside and out, he is doing that in the garage before the final attachment onto the boat. We will be making the hatch turtle strong enough to jump on, so there will be a bit of trial and error there. Elsewhere in the boat I have mounted the cabin lights, 12 V sockets, switches and some of the fans. Parts of the boat look finished - if you hold your head right and concentrate...

17 June 2010

And then?

Work on the electrical system continues and Geoff is making great progress. The main areas are finished - the main distribution area under the stairs, the main engine panel and the 12-switch panel etc. I have been pretty happy as all the work we have done during the build has paid off, with regards to adding wiring access and gluing in conduit. I think I have most of the switches, lights, fans and sockets that we need so hopefully I don't need to shop around as I have been doing. It has been hard to find attractive (to my eyes) and practical light fittings, in the end we just said "whatever" and went with our first choice.

Bill has started on the forward cockpit coaming. There has been quite a lot of standing round talking about it, working out some parameters and different ideas. It is a difficult thing to build with no drawings so hopefully our discussions are worthwhile. It looks quite high so far but I think that is because I am so used to nothing there - I keep needing to put the old teak boards in place so I can remember the scale. We decided to centralise the instrument panel and leave the hatch looking offset, time will tell if that is the best look.

I have had the backstay chainplates made and polished. They are pretty chunky as it is what Sam had lying around in his workshop, but I don't think they will disintegrate! The photo shows I have drilled the holes and they are sitting in place. I was on my friend Cedric's KP44 over the weekend and I ran a line to see how much room it created on the aft deck. I believe it will be really good, with a lot more headroom and space than the existing central backstay. I might not have guessed the angle correctly but we are able to bend them around a bit if they are not close enough.

27 May 2010

Go Sparky, Go!

Geoff the electrician has joined the crew and it is amazing what is visible after only a couple of days on the boat. I hope that all the effort we (well mostly Geoff) put in with the design work pays off as the actual implementation goes ahead. So far so good, only a couple of questions that we have had to make up answers for as we progress. The whole thrust of the electrical install is simplicity, with no main switch panel and only a couple of minor distribution panels. I have taken delivery of the second alternator which will be attached to the main engine. This is 150A which matches the generator output and has made the system design easier. I will get an electronic version of the wiring diagram at some stage, I need to convert from Autocad to PDF.

Elsewhere, Bill has finished the gas bottle/storage locker on the aft deck, it looks very cool - photo doesn't do it justice. He has also built all the doors and has fitted the first one in the forepeak, unfortunately I wasn't quick enough to snap a photo before it was removed for painting. It is very weird, after all this time, to see a door at the forward end of the saloon!

Engineering work has slowed as I have been occupied in helping Geoff, but we are pretty close to being finished in the engine room. The main engine needs a fuel return, but once that is connected - and the fuel tank filled - it should be a runner. The generator is nearly there too, just fuel to and fro and the rest of the exhaust connected. Watermaker plumbing has progressed as well, the next stage there is to plumb in the RO filters and connect it all to the paner.

08 May 2010

We've been scuppered!

So, Bill has started on the gas locker and very exciting that is too. We will build the surround from foam and glass, the lid will be 12mm ply, glassed over for strength and hopefully stability. I have not had any experience with building with foam but it seems quite good, at least Bill makes it look easy!

Otherwise, when not in bed recovering from the early winter round of flu, I have been punishing myself with plumbing in the generator and main engine. I took this photo a few days ago, every day I try and get something added, although by the time I have a) worked out what I need to do, b) shopped for the parts and c) taken them all back at least once and got the right size, progress can be a little uneven.

The scuppers are all in and glassed, not a major job but interrupted by Christmas so it is great to have them all finished off. They look excellent and will look perfect when painted. Bill also tidied up the 2 original ones as they had not been done that well - who would have thought!

21 April 2010


3 weeks flash by in the blink of an eye. What I have been trying to focus on is getting some painting finished, I managed to do the head but will wait for a day or so when Bill isn't around and then knock off the rest of the stuff in the saloon. Then I need to get cracking on the walkway and the aft cabin/shower. Bill has almost finished this area, we should be able to glue in the last 4 portlight surrounds in the next few days and then it is done. This shot shows the under-deck ply finished and the Kauri trim - above the bendy-ply coachroof sides -glued on.

The locker under the companionway continues to have stuff added. I have had some stainless brackets made to support the engine start battery off the floor, and fitted the universal voltage A/C battery charger. When connected to shore power we will run an extension cord to the battery charger and that will keep all systems topped up.

This final photo shows the bracket built to support the generator at the aft end of the engine room. This will have a plywood sheet at its aft end, to both stiffen the bracket up and to enable pumps etc to be bolted on for the generator and watermaker systems. Did I mention how much I don't love plumbing? The other day I came to the realisation that all my watermaker plumbing has been supplied in NPT - WTF? As the rest of the boat is all BSP threads I will replace what I can. I guess plumbing was the reason that bad language was invented - the first incident of a swear word was a plumber realising that his 3/4 hose barb won't screw into a 3/4 female elbow because it's not %$&^%$ tapered....

30 March 2010

Progress and a Change Of Plan

Progress has been made steadily and we have tidied up some jobs that will allow me to proceed when Bill is not here. We added the wood trim and the ply headliner in the walkway, so I can finish all the outstanding painting forward of the engine room bulkhead. We also sprayed the head counter top and the companionway shelf and that came up well.

I fitted the Chatfield Marine Blue Water Shaft Seal, the picture shows the old prop shaft sitting in place through the Vesconite cutless bearing. The Vesconite bearings were very simple to fit, I just put them in the freezer overnight and they just tapped into place.

The engine is sitting down on the modified beds again, it looks like it will line up well this time. I have now removed the rusty old RSJ from the boat and it looks a little less industrial.

The additional scuppers have been cut and I have sealed them in preparation for the PVC pipes that will be epoxied in. As we have come to expect, there were large voids in the hull/deck join, I have poured in quantities of thin epoxy glue so I hope it will all stick together. I am less surprised as time goes on, with regards to the amount of movement in the boat prior to refitting. Hopefully we will not hear any large cracking sounds when we float! The stanchion bases are all fitted now and we are ready to glue the rubbing strake on when the time is right.

The shower is getting closer to completion, we have nearly finished fairing the coachroof. We decided to simply use epoxy fairing compound as there will be no possibility of any rot in this wet area.

Lisa and I have finally woken up and smelled the coffee regarding our cruising plans,
making the decision last week to postpone our cruising until our son Will has left the nest. He starts secondary school next year and is heavily involved in team sports, playing cricket in summer and soccer in winter. He has achieved rep status in both sports and still maintains his dream of being a professional sportsman, so who are we to argue! Making the decision now means we can spend a bit of time fixing our house up so it is livable, and we will have the boat finished by Christmas in readiness for a summer cruise. Then I'll have to find something to do...

07 March 2010

It's in!

Well, finally got my act together and put the engine in. It was delayed a bit by the need to line bore the shaft log. I had long been suspicious that the cutless bearing at the aft end was not aligned with the shaft, judging by the various damage marks on various bits. I was also disappointed by the fact that the forward end was not round. The supplier of my new cutless bearings suggested I line bore the shaft log to ensure a proper fit and I think it was good advice. I was at school camp with my son Will when the guy turned up to do the job, but he sent me some photos - along with the bill! The aft OD for the bearing is 2", the forward one is 1.75". He also lined up the hole in the aft engine bulkhead and that will help us in aligning the engine.

Putting the engine in place was pretty straightforward, although I had to cut a hole in the roof of the shed/tent, as the hiab that I had to put the engine in was much bigger than the one we used to take the old Perkins out. I have had the exhaust riser modified to fit, however I need to cut the modified engine beds down a bit as I managed to make them too high... hem hem! We will be able to use a chain block to lift the engine out of the way, I have a 3.5m length of RSJ that will fit across the cockpit. Hopefully more soon, maybe not much this week as Will has 3 games of cricket for his school and we will be going along on Thursday to see New Zealand play Australia.