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.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Windanes and other stuff continued

Well, last week I was all set to finish installing my windvane.

... and then I got looking at those little filler pads under the deck mounts and decided there was no way I could install them without painting them first. A coat of primer and two coats of paint and then the weekend was over.

Instead, I continued with deck hardware installation. I had to make up some more backing pads. I don't know how I got along without my band saw before - so much easier than cutting them by hand with the saber saw. Backing pads for the jib cleats, windvane deck mounts and the aft legs of the forward pulpit.

The jib cleats are the only noteworthy addition to my deck. Overall, not the most productive weekend.

I am also dealing with a new problem that is becoming more important as I get close to installing the final panels that make up boat interior. I have a leak somewhere and it puddles up right here on the cabin sole. The constant and often heavy rains of last week made finding the leak a priority.

What scared me is that the leak seemed to be coming down from under the non-structural bulkhead that defines the saloon from the head. The bulkhead doesn't actually touch the hull. There is about an inch gap between the bulkhead and the hull and the attachment comes from the fiberglass tabbing on both sides. My worry was that a toerail screw was allowing water to come down between the tabbings and filling up the area in between which will eventually rot out the bulkhead. So I started some investigation by pulling up some insulation under the head platform and digging out the settee front where it will later be covered with a veneered panel. I also took out the paneling that forms the back of the head storage locker. The water was definitely pooling up right there and spilling over after it had accumulated.

I had to make the plunge and cut some investigation holes in the bottom panel of the under settee storage area. I hated making the cuts but I had to find the source of the water. I made two cuts there on each side of a panel mounting block. All very dry.

So then I did some test holes along the inboard edge of the settee front. I found some water so I drilled some drain holes that will later be covered up easily. Once the water drained out I had no more puddling around the bulkhead so I am sure the bulkhead area is not the source of the leak. The inboard edge of the settee front is wet all along its length.

I have a sort-of bulkhead at the aft end because at one time I thought I would make the galley storage go all the way to the hull. The space I gained didn't justify the work in creating the curved bottom surface over the insulation so I later just covered the aft area there to match the settee seat. You can see the tabbing to the hull that goes around the whole settee seats. I did that mainly so that any water leaking down from the deck would stop at the seat and not go all the way down to where I am finding it now.

At this point I noticed that the temporary tabbing between the settee seat and the galley storage bottom wasn't too good. I tore some of it up to have a better look. The plywood was all wet. I suspected the missing stanchion mount above was funneling water down to where it would puddle and then finding its way down under the bad tabbing. That could be the problem. I filled the holes temporarily with sealant.

I am going to be really PO'ed if I went to all this trouble and made all this mess only to find out it was only because I was a bit too sloppy with a temporary tab and left a deck fitting off in a rain storm.

After another day of rain I found more puddling on the cabin sole. Maybe the leak was just draining out or maybe I didn't solve the problem. My next step isto cut a hole in the galley storage bottom and feel around. Its possible the water is coming from the cockpit area and finding its way through the original partial bulkhead between the cockpit and saloon areas. The tabbing looks okay and I really hope it is okay.

Now we have a week of near perfect weather and I can't confirm the leak so I am stalled out. I wish it would rain...

So that brings us to this past weekend (sorry about the delay - sometimes I just really don't feel like blogging).

Back to the windvane.

I installed the deck mounts with the now-painted filler blocks.

After laying the bent upper mounts tubes flat on a piece of plywood, the holes were easily drilled straight with a drill press at work. I bolted the tubes on just tight enough to hold them roughly in position while I got the windvane set up.

Then I slipped the windvane onto the tubes and tied the vane to the stern pulpit to hold it in position while I took a look, took a few measurements and put all the other bits and pieces loosely in place.

It became obvious that there were some dimensional errors with the mounts. The top of the lower blade is about 8 inches higher than the water line. It really should be four. Planning on a little cruising overload is fine but I think an extra 4 inches is excessive. The mount is also further aft than it needs to be. As close as practical to the stern is what the instructions call for.

So, I took the vane off and cut four inches off the upper mounts. Factoring in the angle that should lower the vane around 3 and a half inches and bring it a little closer to the stern. Now I have to drill new holes again.

I finished the weekend installing the last of the stanchion mounts and the foredeck cowl with a helper. I was planning on the final installation of the bow pulpit and all the little bits of hardware up forward.

The problem is that they all share one big (and rather ugly - I was new at this when I started) epoxy soaked plywood backing pad shaped to fit the undersides of the curved deck. The anchor roller is firmly mounted through this pad but everything else had been loose for a year. Now, I can't remember how well the wood filler block for the anchor roller is sealed (that was a year ago). Since I can't remember I have decided to take it off, clean it up and start with some new sealant; mounting all that stuff at the same time. I hate to do this but I hate that nagging feeling of doubt even more. Not that a leak would hurt much up under the anchor locker but someday it will really bug me. Especially if the wood filler block starts to rot.

So that's it. Another weekend wasted ;-)