Sunday, December 19, 2010

All boxed in

The engine that is.

Somehow the fiddles that support the removeable panel were positioned an inch or so too far forward. The easy fix will be to extend the lower step an inch or so forward...

For the time being, I am going to keep the old repaired lower step in place so as not to damage a new cherry step with my clumsiness. The middle step will be mounted permanently on the removable panel. The basic geometry of the stairs will remain as per original. I like the original and I am used to it so I am going to keep it.

I also managed to install fiddles to support the starboard settee back against the galley structure and the forward lip that will support the 'trash hatch'.

While I have this picture posted, there was a discusion on last week's blog comments about the shape of the settee locker area. On the original Tritons, the biggest turn in the bilge is right around the bottom of the locker area. That combined with a more sloping settee back positioned further outboard means the lower portion of the locker is larger than the top opening. This creates a problem when there is a full bag of stuff in the locker and you need to pull out through the top opening.

On this installation, there is an inner liner (ceiling) covering the hull insulation. Rather than make it too complicated and follow the curvature of the hull, I made the inner liner out of one piece of plywood that effectively 'cuts out' the curvature. I think I may also have slightly less slope to the settee back. I am not sure about that. In any case, the bottom of the locker is smaller than the top.

There is still an issue with the aft trash bay. The top opening is clearly smaller than the rest of the locker and getting a full bag of trash out would be impossible without emptying the contents of the trash bag a piece at time. Not a great design in my opinion. To correct the problem I cut an access door in the front of the settee panel. I can dump trash down the small opening on top and I can remove the full bag from the front opening door.

That's the plan anyway.

If I don't squeeze a blog in next week I would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas or whatever else they chose to celebrate over the coming solstice period.

All the best wishes for the coming year. -BC

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Great Expectations

not my favorite Dickens novel actually but probably his best known one. I think David Copperfield might be my favorite, "poor boy makes good after some hard lessons" but that is just me...

Anyway, the pattern for this blog lately has been to list the excuses for why boatwork has not happened.

That is going to change. Suffice to say that Real Life reared its ugly head and Boat Life cowered in a corner.

The most interesting item accomplished is that the settee locker door openings were cut out. I have been obsessing for months about how to build the doors. It seemed like every other day I had a new idea. Well, in the end I got sick of thinking about it and just cut the damn holes. At least now I can install the panels which will allow other work to progress. In fact I do have a plan for the doors but I can spend three paragraphs explaining it or just show pictures when it gets done. I am voting for the latter.

First, I laid out where the openings were going to be and clamped a straight board onto the panel to act as a guide for my skilsaw:

Since I couldn't cut the corners completely with my circular blade I had to finish the cuts off with my pull saw. I love that pull saw. When my old standard push saw(as in I got it when I was 10 and it expired when I was 41) was finally judged too dull to live and too cheap to sharpen I decided not to replace it. I haven't missed it.

Two panels, cut and ready for the next step(s):

If I had equally spaced doors on both panels I think it would have been easier to build the backrests out of solid wood. It would have looked a lot nicer to. As it is, the starboard panel only has one door in it and plenty of flat space. For that reason the plywood panels seem reasonable. In my opinion though, from an aesthetic view, the less plywood the better. On the port side there really wasn't much panel left after cutting out three door holes.

Other than that.. I bought some solid cherry and ordered some door hardware - twice - since I changed my mind about how to build the doors after I ordered the first set of hardware. Oh well, I can use it somewhere else.

Last week, I found the boat pretty dark under the tarp and went shopping for some lighting. I bought an extension cord with outlets every six feet along its length. I ran that down the boat - bow to stern- and attached hanging lights in various locations. Its nice and bright inside now and I don't have to figure out what to unplug to use a power tool any more. Plenty of available outlets now.

Now I have to go and try a homemade mushroom soup recipe.

Em tasol wantoks ;-)

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Trying again

The holidays were good. I got some work done around the house and on the car. I managed to put the cover back on the boat.

In looking at the failure of the cover, I think a big reason it failed was the amount of unsupported ridge pole at the front of the boat. I think perhaps I had the frames a little further forward last year.

In any case, I brought back my 'spare' frame that I didn't use last year and installed it about two feet in front of the original front frame. Then I repaired the frame that broke by screwing on a section of new strapping directly over the break. I repaired the bow upright 'post' by splicing in a section to replace the one that broke. I also put something under the post as it seems to have dug a hole under itself which probably was the first part to separate where the post joins the ridge pole.

The bad news is that the wind was blowing quite hard. The good news is that it was blowing in a direction that helped push the tarp over the boat. Luckily, the grommets on the upwind side were fine so I just had to pull over the same way it came off. I had to get the water and ice out of the tarp first. Dumping it into my shoes seemed like an effective technique.

To pull the tarp over on the side that had all the grommets removed I secured several lines by the method I mentioned last week. This is probably old news to everyone but since I have little to write about here goes:

First, I found a chunk of something and put it on the tarp where I wanted to secure a line.

Second, I twisted the tarp around the chunk of something.

Third, I tied a line around the twisted chunk of something.

This technique is widely used in emergency shelter construction and it actually works quite well.

So after fighting the heavy ice laden tarp in the cold northwest wind for an hour I secured it with some new grommets. This was the first time I made my own grommets. Now that I have done it myself I have even less respect for commercial tarp makers. The operation is dead simple and making a good looking grommet is pretty easy. I wonder why so many tarp makers can't do the same?

And finally, because I don't want to fix the tarp again this winter and because I don't intend to repeat this type of structure in the future (having to make repairs to the winter cover before December is just not a good way to start the storage season) I screwed sections of strapping right through the tarp to the frames. I am hoping by sandwiching the tarp between the strapping that the wind won't be tearing it off again.

I say I am not going to repeat this structure because after thinking about it, I am not sure I work on the boat enough in the winter to justify the time I am putting into the cover to make work possible. I think next year, I will either have a permanent structure to house the boat or I will cover the boat and walk away for the winter. The progress I am making over the winter months doesn't seem to justify the efforts I put into the cover.

So next week, some interior projects. Hopefully, I will be working on the boat this winter instead of perpetually fixing the cover.

...and that's it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Rough Beginnings

Last week, I took a weekend away from Jenny and went to visit another boat project (and friend while I was in the area). Yesterday I stopped in on the boat. It took me a minute to realize something had changed...

My cover that held up to 90mph winds last year didn't last two weeks this year. My winter cover failed and it isn't even winter yet. I am a little concerned.

We did have some days of strong winds; 40+ mph winds anyway. I wasn't too worried based on past experiences. I should have. Maybe the strapping just can't be left around all summer to dry out. Maybe I should have painted the whole structure (?!)In any case, the strapping, installed just like the past successful season, failed very prematurely.

My guess is the first bow bow broke...

which left the front support holding up one side of the wide expanse of tarp...

which left too much unsupported tarp so all the grommets on the windward side let go...

A pretty dissapointing sight.

The good news is that I have a spare set of bows. I was going to take them to the dump with some other stuff Saturday. Luckily I stopped by the boatyard first.

I can only hope the spare bow will hold up better. I don't have particularly high hopes at this point. I am worried that the strapping just doesn't age well. Luckily I have pulpits installed. If things get really bad I will knock down the bows, set the ridgepole on the pulpits, tie what's left of the tarp to the ground and walk away until spring. Maybe I am being a little premature with that thought...

I bought a bunch of grommets to replace those torn out of my brand new tarp but I am also wondering about attaching the lines to the tarp with a hitch around a twist of tarp. I am not sure how to explain it. I will take a picture if I go that route. The best I can describe it is that you twist a round object (stone, golf ball, etc) in a section of tarp and then tie a hitch to the tarp behind the enclosed object. It supposedly works quite well. I have done it with emergency shelters for a single night but I haven't tried it for a whole season.

I am really done with temporary work shelters that need to be broken down every spring. I am going to double up on my real estate search. I am sick of winter covers.

Naturally, the tools I need to fix the structure are the same tools I use every day at work (and no I don't have the resources to have duplicates of everything at the moment - holiday expenses are coming, I need a new commuter car ...) So, I decided to continue clearing up my workspace at home in preparation for winter boat projects and pout about my setbacks.

Hopefully something better to say next week.

Happy Turkey Day!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

All tucked in

The wind gods must not have been paying attention this weekend. With little wind, the cover took about five minutes to pull over and maybe two hours to secure, including a trip to the hardware store for more line.

I had to run to Home Despot for some spring clamps because my old ones dissapeared after the wind storm last year. Once there I got distracted by some possible future tool purchases and wound up spending a good deal of time researching tools. It was cold too. I haven't become use to that yet. Plus, with the cover on it is quite dark and my lights were... someplace else... Do I need any more excuses or does that cover me?

... and then there is the new winter work list. Thankfully, it is a bit simpler than in year's past. Somehow I think I will still be rushing to get it all done come late spring.

Things that need to happen before the next launch:

Patch the hull where I went on the rocks last time. Initially, I was thinking I would have to lay some large pieces of cloth. Now, it looks like a few small dished out patches will work fine.

I have a jib cleat next to the patch where the old fuel fill used to be. The patch was a bit rough on the underside and it is flexing. I need to do a better job before I hook the genoa up to it in a 20 kt blow.

Fix the paint on the starboard side where the fenders rubbed through it. There are also some scratches I would like to fix. One reason I chose Awlcraft 2000 over Awl-Grip was because it is supposed to be easier to fix. I will find out shortly and I have emailed the company for any repair tips. One thing I am sure about - Awlcraft scratches easier than Awl-Grip. It is quite sensitive to clumsy tool marks...

Finish that last 5% of the deck hardware installation that never seemed to happen this fall. It's the bow pulpit and a few odd fittings next to it. Easy.

I want to move the aft cleats off the blocks next to the toerail. I am not thrilled with the look and I suspect the raised cleat puts more strain on those long bronze bolts than is necessary. I plan to move the cleats inboard into the middle of the aft deck and flat on the deck; not raised on blocks. I just have to make sure they won't interfere with the wind vane rigging.

Buy and install new stanchion tubes. I have had one tube missing for two years now. Plus, I would rather have a double lifeline system anyway.

Replace the jumper strut stay hardware. I wanted to be able to adjust the jumper strut tension with the mast up so the rigger installed some sort of tensioners into the stays that tighted with some sort of thumb screw. Under load they can't be turned. I want to put real turnbuckles in there. I removed the hardware months ago and have done nothing about it. I will call my rigger soon and get moving on that.

Get the rigging on the reverse gear right. I got a surprise last season (as did the dock crew) when I ran into the dock at 3 kts because I found out too late I had no reverse gear. Well, the prop turned in reverse but wasn't accomplishing much. The atomic four has no real reverse gear. Instead it has a clamp around a planetary gear system. When the clamp tightens, the outer band stops turning and the inner rings goes the other way. You have to see a picture to see how it works... Anyway, I need to add more tension to the system for a more positive reverse.

More varnish. Always. And getting worse with every bit of wood I add. It is the cost of true beauty.

Install the rub rail brass strip. The strip was supposed to go on right after the rubrail. Somehow that kept getting pushed back. Now it needs to get done.

Finish installing the head. The head is 95% complete. I just keep cutting the final hose an inch too short. The fourth time I expect better results. I also need to add a vent fitting and hose. I should be able to manage that.

Stop the cabin leak. The last rains confirmed that I still have a leak working its way through the cabin. I still suspect the area around the port battery shelf. One corner is tight against the partial bulkhead and I think water is pooling up and getting into the cabin there. I drilled a drain hole when the shelf was intalled. Perhaps my 'drain' hole went into the bulkhead a bit and created the leak?

That's the high priority items. A much shorter and easier list than in year's past.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Hoisting sail

Not an exciting weekend. Putting the winter cover up has become a rather dull exercise really.

Saturday I finished the frame putting the end poles up. It was too windy to consider pulling the tarp over so I worked on securing the galley paneling - bits and pieces here and there- not worth a photo.

Sunday morning seemed like a good day for pulling the tarp over with the wind somewhat diminished from the day before. First, I hung my small older tarp across the stern area where it is too wide to pull the big tarp together. Then I unrolled the main tarp and positioned it alongside the boat, securing one side to the bottom of the frame and attaching several long pieces of rope to pull the tarp over.

As a side note; the new tarp from Hamilton Marine looks much better than last year's tarp from

When I started, the wind was working in my favor to help push the tarp across the boat and over the top.


The wind shifted and started to pick up. I was working the tarp over about six feet at a time and had the tarp over the ridgepole when the wind shifted. Now, instead of the wind helping to push the tarp over, it filled the tarp and was pulling it away from the boat. I suddenly found myself running on a broad reach with a 1200 square foot spinnaker. My simple slip knots on the lines I was using to pull the tarp became welded iron and I was forced to cut them away before any serious damage occured. I was surprised, really, that the structure didn't seem to mind at all. The tarp was flying 10-20 feet above the boat and really pulling well. While frantically scrambling for my knife (luckily in my pocket at the time) I was fully expecting the structure to flex and crack and blow apart. The structure really didn't seem to show any signs of stress though; even with the tarp picking me up when I grabbed a loose end.

So for the moment, the tarp is staged alongside of the boat waiting for more favorable conditions. After that little bit of excitement I didn't feel like tackling any other projects so I used my time to clean up the area and my shop area at home.

There is always next week...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Bahamas Bound

Not me of course. A friend of mine who charters on his Hinckley 49 was desperate to get a bunch of work done before heading south. So I spent last weekend working on other-peoples-boats.

I did manage to break away last Sunday afternoon and visit Jenny. While there I installed two pieces of sound insulation around the engine. I had heard good things about this insulation and when I ordered it I expected it to be quite heavy and dense. Instead, it looks like... well like the 3200 square feet of insulation that I already own for general hull insulation. Not exactly of course. The sound insulation has slightly smaller 'cells' in the foam than what I already own, it is lined with an aluminum foil and it has an adhesive on one side already.

It looks like nice stuff and I have heard good things about it so we will see. The Atomic Four doesn't really need sound proofing. It is pretty quiet already but this should make it a bit nicer. I would be reluctant to put my general foam insulation that close to the engine too. The temperature rating is quite high but the aluminum foil lined insulation has to be a better choice.

Anyway, the sound insulation installs super easy. Cut to fit. Peel the backing. Stick in place. No complaints so far.

So this latest weekend I had to cram in all the household stuff I put off last weekend and get started on my winter cover. With October quickly wrapping up I was getting more than a little anxious about getting the boat covered.

Last year's winter cover worked pretty well; even during that storm with the 90 mph winds. The one fault was the green garden stakes which were totally inadequate for keeping the base of the structure where it belonged. The structure simply pushed over the garden stakes, flattened them and settled into a variety of 'S' curves which I had to straighten out several times.

So this Saturday I bought 14 - 4 foot sections of concrete re-bar and drove 3 feet of the bar into the ground. We will see if this solves the wandering problem.

After that I managed to match up the frame halves, bolt them together and stage them for erection. Why does it sound so porno to say 'erection'?...

Sunday was the first windless day in two weeks which was a blessing. It was an easy day raising the frames into position. By starting in the middle, I was able to place the ladder at the ends of the boat and hold the ridge joint in one hand, walk up the ladder. There was enough friction where the bows slot into the base frame for the bows to stay in position while I walked down and screwed temporary braces to hold the frames vertical.

Once I had them all up I installed diagonal cross bracing below the sheerline. Then I dropped the 3 section ridge pole into the slots and secured it with the same metal hardware I used last year. After that I installed another row of diagonal cross members above the sheerline. The whole operation took about 5 hours.

So that is the good news.

The bad news is that the structure is not going to last many more seasons. There are a variety of reasons for this.

For one, the untreated bows all warped to varying degrees. It is cheap strapping material so I really shouldn't be surprised. There is definitely some stress due to shrinkage which has weakened the construction adhesive bond around the filler blocks placed between the inner and outer strapping that make up the bow.

Secondly, the 1/2 inch plywood gussets (3/8 on two where I ran out of 1/2 inch scrap plywood) that connect the two opposing bows together take a lot of stress during 'erection' and the plywood is weakening. There was some groaning and cracking noises this time. Everything held together but I was a little concerned. Once in place I am not too worried about the joint but grabbing one bow and walking up focuses a lot of strain on the gusset joint when the bows are more horizontal than vertical. If I use the frames again I will have some repair work to do first.

Third, I am an amateur construction hack and the structure is not a model of precesion and quality. That is just the way it is.

Overall, I am still very impressed with the design of the structure (not my design) but I don't think it lends itself that well to breaking down every spring. There is too much wear and tear during the assembly. I am sure I could have left it up (and coverd from the sun and rain) for ten years with no major problems. It is the up and down and leaving them untreated and outside under the boat has taken its toll on the cheap strapping. The only real solution is a permanent structure, a boat barn, which keeps moving up on my priorities list.

Rain fell in the afternoon and I wasn't really excited about attaching the end poles or pulling the tarp over anyway so that's all I got done. Next week I need to finish up the cover and take a good look at what needs to be done before next spring's launching.

and that's it.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Resisting the urge

The urge to continue with the interior construction is a strong temptation but it really isn't a priority so I focused instead on the wind vane project that is starting to feel like a never ending journey. Even the pictures look the same week to week.

In any case, last week I filled the old holes with the plan to more or less start over installing the deck mounts. I also installed the mounting pads very permanently in a bed of thickened epoxy. This week I wanted to get the deck mounts in place for good.

Since I have learned that even a little misalignment at the deck can cause serious problems where the tubing connects to the wind vane I wound up putting together a system that allowed the whole wind vane to sit in position so that I could see exactly where the mounts wanted to be. The end result looks simple but it took a few hours. On a positive note, everything is looking much better. The modifications I did earlier seem to be exactly what the vane needed. Now it is sitting pretty close to it's ideal location on the transom.

With the location of the mounts accurately located I drilled new bolt holes. First I drilled in a quarter inch with the 5/16 drill to get the exact center of the hole. Then I grabbed my 48/64's drill and went all the way through the deck. Doesn't everyone have a 48/64's drill? I bought it a few years ago for drilling and tapping a pipe thread. I needed something bigger than 1/2 inch and the only other option was my forstner bits which would have been harder to center exactly. Not too important. The job got done. Then I dug out some coring and filled my new holes back up with thickened epoxy.

Sunday, I positioned the mounts again and drilled through the center of the plugs I made Saturday. Again, I took a fair amount of time to make sure the mounts were positioned as accurately as possible. When the holes were all drilled through I mixed up some thickened epoxy and bedded the whole mount and bolted them in place. Now those mounts have become part of a rather permanent installation.

I also did some shopping around for concrete re-bar. It is time to start thinking about the winter cover and while I was pretty happy with last year's cover, the one area in need of improvement was how the structure was fixed to the ground. I used some garden stakes last year and during a few high wind storms the structure bent over the stakes and started moving around. I am thinking the re-bar should resist that tendency a bit better.

Other than that, I am going to finish this blog and order a tarp, some engine box sound insulation and some interior hardware so I can figure out how to make the storage locker doors - Some good advice I received was to figure out the hardware first and then build the doors to match. Otherwise, when it comes time to install the hardware you might be in for a surprise.

So that's it. Not terribly exciting.... oh wait... one more thing.

We had lots of rain this week with one particularly rainy day so after work I went out to the boat to look for leaks. It took awhile but I think I found my mystery leak. Well, two really but one leak is just a slight seepage from the aft starboard dead light. I have some bronze frames waiting to replace the aluminum ones anyway so I am not too worried about that one. The really tricky leak was coming out around the bulkhead between the saloon and head areas along the bottom of the settee front. A few weeks ago I did some destructive investigation and ruled out a deck leak and traced the leak back to the galley area. My search the other night confirmed that the underside of the deck was bone dry so I moved my search back into the cockpit where I think I found the problem.

Apparently, the cheap ($100 Bomar) plastic hatches are leaking. No surprise really. I knew they would. I had assumed that any leakage would travel harmlessly into the bilge. On the port side however, the leak was dropping onto the house battery shelf and running forward to the panel that I had installed which divides the cockpit area from the cabin area. The original structure was a 'mini bulkhead' about six inches wide that gave shape to the hull but wasn't a complete panel. The old icebox used to fit through this part. When I closed off the area, I screwed a full panel to the old partial bulkhead. And because there are no square bulkheads in the boat, there is a little gap between the panel I installed and the mini bulkhead. The leak was running along the battery shelf and dropping into this crevice and from there it was following the front edge of the settee until it found a place escape. At least I am pretty sure this is what is happening. I made a fix and now I need to test it.

I made the fix during the rainstorm at night so it wasn't pretty. I will have to do some cleanup later. Because of the tight confines I couldn't get a tool into the area effectively so my solution was to hold out my bare hand ... and unload several pumps of polysulfide sealant into my waiting palms. Then smear the sealant into the gap. Crude but effective. Once the sealant started to set up I was able to clean my hand. I would have taken a picture but I couldn't touch anything . Imagine a human hand and forearm completely encased in white sealant. Pretty yucky. On the other hand, I came back the next day to find the cabin sole completely dry for a change and all the damp areas dried out. I think I fixed the problem but the next rainstorm will confirm it.

And that's it. Now it is time to get the winter cover up. I will probably also be taking a weekend off soon to help out a friend getting a new-to-him boat home. By November I should be able to fully immerse myself in interior construction. My design juices are flowing these days and I can't wait to get moving on that.

Someone please remind me that the boat needs to be ready to sail next spring...

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The incredible shrinking boat

I will get to the title later on down the page...

After thinking about it, I decided that trying to make the wind vane deck mounts work in their current location wasn't the right course of action. I had spaced the mounts on deck the exact distance the tubes needed to be apart at the upper end where the vane attaches to the tube frame (in accordance with the instructions). I ran into a problem because I hadn't considered the deck camber which makes the tubes angle outwards at the top end. What I decided to do was re-position the mounts and let the tubes rise at whatever angle they wanted so long as they were properly spaced where they attach to the vane. I used a board with two holes spaced exactly like the wind vane to position the tubes and mounts. The picture shows how the mounts sit relative to the pads I had installed a few weeks ago.

I didn't have the pad material on hand so I skipped to the interior. I fit the paneling in front of the engine, glued insulation to the back and screwed it permanently in position.

Then, with the roll of insulation on hand, I went ahead and fit the insulation that goes along the hull under the galley countertop on the port and starboard sides. The funny angles took some time to sort out and the fumes from the contact cement were pretty strong inside the cabin so that ended my Saturday.

On Sunday I started back at the wind-vane (so much for installation in one weekend...) The mounting pads were set in sealant and came up with little work. I made new pads with one minor improvement. I made the pads wider. The first pads were just wide enough for the mounts which worked fine but any minor mis-alignment was immediately visible. My hope is that the larger pads will allow 1/8- 1/4 inch mis-alignment go by without drawing too much attention. Of couse I hope for no mis-alignment but consider who's doing the work...

Anyway, I felt so confident in my new mounts and their new positions that I set them in a bed of thickened epoxy. I will drill them out next weekend for permanent mounting. I will have to drill and fill the hole in the deck core from below the deck which should be interesting; do-able but interesting.

With the epoxy setting up, I cut and fit the interior panels (ceiling?) that covered the insulation under the galley benchtop. I oiled the panels and screwed them to the strips I had installed earlier. Later, I will give the panels several coats of Bilgekote white and the whole storage areas under the galley a freshening coat.

After that I decided to have some fun. I bought a sheet of cheap pine B/C plywood and made patterns for the galley countertop. This is where the title comes from; with the interior furnishings going in, the boat is suddenly becoming much smaller; nicer but smaller. It was a really good exercise because it gave me a chance to really see how the bits and pieces will fit together and proved some ideas while disproving others. It is one thing to have a vision in your head; everything works perfectly up there. In reality issues crop up quite unexpectedly. Making the patterns allowed all the details come together. It was quite exciting to see the form taking shape.

The plan is to use the top of the countertop as the top step on the companionway stairs. (that little lip sticking up will not be part of the final installation) I was wondering if this would work and if that first step would be too big. So far, my test walks have shown that the climb out is perfectly acceptable. I might still raise that center section up a bit. The mockup allows me to play with that. I am also going to have to give more thought as to how I plan on accessing the storage areas. Squeezing lids around sinks and stoves and smaller-than-visualized spaces is going to be a challenge. Speaking of sinks, My old plan was to try to re-locate the sink to a spot directly above the engine. After thinking about it for two years I still don't have an acceptable way of doing that. I think the sink will go back near the original location. Mostly because I don't have a better idea and because I already have an un-used thru-hull and seacock right there. I am also going to avoid a nice big sink which was part of my earlier plan. The waterline is only six inches or so below the level of the galley countertop so a deep sink would require a sump tank and pump. I don't want the added complexity. At one point I considered giving up the sink altogether and just using a plastic dish tub that could be taken on deck and dumped over the side. I decided not to go that route either. So far I have tossed out the simplest and most complicated ideas for sinkage. Now, I am thinking a small sink just like the original (Alberg just might have found the perfect compromise after all!) If I want a deep sink right over the engine I can pull out the dish tub and then pour it out into my shallow sink when I am finished. The best of all worlds.

Oh, I also have been trying to solve a rain leakage problem. I thought I had it completely licked but heavy downpours this week left a small puddle on the cabin sole; nothing like it was before but not perfectly dry either. This week should be a rainy week so hopefully I can spend some time at the boat after work tracking down the last drops of leaking water. In the interim, I used my shop vac to remove the water that has been accumulating in the bilge below the bilge drain (about 3 inches ~ 2 gallons). For future reference, when 'unloading' the shop vac over the side it would be a good idea to make sure your sneakers are not directly below.

And that is how I ended my weekend.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

More surprises

So the plan last week was to install the wind vane. The week before I had secured the vane mounts on the deck and had only been held up when I found the upper mount tubes were too long. About fifteen minutes after work and I had the tubes cut down and re-drilled and ready for assembly.

I had followed the directions carefully and spaced the deck mounts exactly 15.5 inches apart equal distance from the centerline. So I was a bit surprised when I went to hang the vane and found the tubes to be about an inch too far apart. I attempted to bend the tubes a little closer but I could see the aft deck flexing under the load I was putting it on. That wasn't how I wanted things to go.

After a few minutes of head scratching and measuring three times I realized that the aft deck has a camber to it. The mounts were spaced exactly the right amount apart but they also angled outward slightly due to the camber. Apparently, the camber is large enough to make 15.5 inches at the deck become 16.5 inches about a foot up. I was pretty disgusted at that point and didn't have a ready answer to the problem so I called it a day and went early to some family birthday stuff that I had been trying to work around.

Sunday, I had some ideas as to how to correct the problem but I wanted to think about it since my first thoughts are often a bit crude and less than the standards I would like to see on the boat. If I am going to own the boat for the next 50 years I didn't want to keep staring at something I couldn't wait a week to figure out properly. The following Saturday was full of household chores again but Sunday (today) I was ready to finish the job.

The first thing I did was cut a piece of scrap wood and drill two holes spaced exactly 15.5 inches apart. This allowed me to accurately position the top of the tubes exactly where they needed to be in order to mount the vane. You can see in the pictures how much of an angle there is and how much the mounts overhang the lip on the aft deck.

The plan became to grind down the mounting pads so that the tubes would rise perfectly vertical from the deck. It was going to be a tricky operation with the overhang and my normal clumsiness with power tools but I think it is the right way to fix the problem. I went home to get my grinder and came back to find my new neighbor six feet off my stern doing his end of season cleanup. The gusty winds would have blown the grinding dust directly into his open cabin. Its tough being the nice guy in the boatyard sometimes...

So I switched gears and started assembling the galley bulkheads. Not much to say there. I had to make some minor trimming to make things as square as possible. Way back during the 'disassembly' phase of the project I had left some hull tabbing in place as a convenient way to secure future interior panels. Once again I find myself really regretting that decision. My attempts to square up the interior were in direction opposition to the original bits and pieces left behind. Now I really wish I had just taken EVERYTHING out down to a bare hull and started over. Maybe leaving the crooked main bulkheads but trying to save some time and inconvenience has only resulted in more inconvenience and a standard of quality that I am not terribly happy with. Oh well.

So I started securing the bulkheads and put in the blocks for the interior liners (ceiling?) that will cover the insulation. I was just measuring the closed cell foam I use for insulation when the unforecasted rain started and ended my day early.

So, once again, not a terribly productive two weekends but still inching towards the finish line.

Speaking of the finish line, the main goal for the summer was getting all the deck hardware secured and ready for sailing next season. I am 99% done, with just a few fittings at the bow that still need mounting. For the past month I have been trying to arrange for a helper to hold the screws while I put the nuts on from inside the anchor locker but something keeps coming up and the postponements seem endless. Maybe next week.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Change of plans.

I had planned on taking this week off of work and going somewhere on vacation. Those plans changed suddenly. Having a whole week with nothing to do and some budgeted money now sitting around going to waste I made a hasty change of plans.

Taking care of the extra money was easy.

As for the time...

Great visual progress but only about 10% of the interior project is actually done. Now comes all the details.

The engine cover will eventually have the companionway steps permanently built in with the top stair being the countertop or maybe a small pull out shelf that hides under the bridge deck. The original stairs are just there in the interim. While I like the overall function of the original stairs, I don't like the extra step of removing them to gain access to the engine (and having to find a place to lay them down while I work) and they make a mess on the varnish where they attach to the companionway.

The galley tabletop will extend out the same amount on both sides. My original plan was to notch the table on the port side where it came up to the settee back. As I kept looking at it though I felt I was losing too much table space and not gaining anything from the extra settee back. So I notched out the settee back and the bamboo shelf behind it.

I oiled the cherry plywood partly for vanity reasons and partly because I learned the hard way how easily a little rain water stains the wood. It has been a week of mostly beautiful weather with occasional showers.

What is there to say?... I turned big sheets of plywood into little bits and pieces and added another thousand little problems for me to think about as I fall asleep at night.