Saturday, 13 June 2020

The saloon (part one).

I ummed and arghhed for a while deciding how to lay it out but eventually settled on the revised idea of sink & icebox to the left of the saloon door and oven plus a small drawer unit to the right. This is the most versatile layout i can come up with so you still have to sea-berths down either side and then with some rather spiffy joinery on my part pull the respective bunk fronts out and infill with the respective back rests and have a giant double, 8.5ft x 5ft.

This way, if your intimately acquainted with one another you can go for the giant double option and if not you can sleep separately along the boats length on either side. I will admit to wasting half a day with the laser and measuring tape working it all out and then quietening the voices of doubt in my head. 
The only slight disappointment was building out the sink and icebox side as the icebox to the hulls shape, once insulated is now tiddly but i have an idea to commandeer part of the port side cockpit locker by framing it up and insulating to make an aux store (see booze locker). With the next bit of free time i'll start building out the starboard side. Cheers.

Sunday, 24 May 2020

Well that's that.

So as paid works not starting until mid June i may as well get on with building out the Heads and Hanging locker. Got the bulkheads finally finished how i wanted them & given more protection than a member of the Royal family.

Still they're in after two long days on the roller and hot air gun so its onto cutting and making the floor. I think i'll go the route i did before by encapsulating 2 part foam then sealing with epoxy & boarding over with coated plywood.

I'm liking the fact i have standing headroom with about 70mm above my head in the main saloon so will be able to insulate and put a proper headliner panel in with room to spare. I got the compression post bolted in so that's a weight off my mind as the sapele post had a 6mm curve to it when the metal post was placed up against it. 

For sure the compressive strength parallel to grain is some 8500 PSI so around 4 tons & with a post who's cross sectional area of 9 square inches that's a lot of load bearing. But with the new larger sail plan and no backstay i don't want any drama on the water plus the water tank is half the capacity of the old one so i could spare a little weight up front.

What else? The new epoxy from Easy Composites worked very well although it doesn't like heated rollers. Basically when i heat the area with a hot air gun to aid saturation the roller using Reactives epoxy would stay live for the duration of the lay up as long as you kept wetting it in fresh resin. 

The only fly in the ointment with the new stuff is it sets like a rock on the roller after 30 odd minutes but given the cost saving over Wests i can let that go, it even smells the same as Reactive's resin and wets out a treat so that's a thumbs up from me.

Friday, 15 May 2020

A bit of a slog.............

I called it 3D chess on Sailing anarchy as that's the best way to describe rebuilding a boat with the deck on. If i cut and fix that bulkhead it restricts access forward and if i don't do that i can't make up the panels to create the heads and hanging locker but before i do any of this i have to get the comp post in place, bonded & bolted else i have no means of getting that fastened.

You can see why so many boat projects end up on ebay, not just because of the time and money endlessly poured in but the sheer head fuckery they create when trying to work out a process in which to complete the work. 

Granted i'm an 'overthinker' but the amount of traps i uncovered this week was truly biblical, that said i'm still heading in the right direction but all those memories of a few years ago came flooding back the last couple of days.

It must've been all the time that'd passed since i last worked on the boat had somehow blocked the anguish, "c'mon, its only fucking boat?" would go one voice in my head, & "you've done way more difficult things than this" would be another, slightly more upbeat assessment to keep the mental wheels turning. But still somehow i get the equivalent of writers block with this project to the point where i'm genuinely lost.

The plan in the old days (if you could call it a plan) was to start at one end and finish at the other, bit like construction, once the shell's up and roof's on, internals-wise you'd start on the top floor at the furthest point and head towards the stairwell at the end of the corridor. The theory being little to no damage as you were all working your way out of the building. Although - trust me - i've worked for some proper twats over the years who start in the entrance lobby on the ground floor and drag all the labour, materials & plant through the building. 

So when i got back onboard with the Centaur it was 'go to the forepeak and work your way back to the companionway' except there's a myriad of interdependent variables on the way through. I'm on top of it now but it took an excel spreadsheet, (i know, i'm a total spreadsheet wanker in these moments) to clarify the uncontrolled panic. 

I think it was this and the paint problems i've had this week with the bulkheads that provoked a sit down-and-type-it-out moment. The automotive paint feels greasy to the touch no matter how much post curing you do so have begged my furniture paint supplier to give me a C.O.D account which means i get the paint with little to no discount. 

That said at least i know the gun settings and finish will be perfect plus I can spray the stuff blindfolded and still get a perfect job, that should be here Tuesday with a following breeze. Just what i wanted though, £200 quids worth of automotive paint languishing in the cupboard whilst i spend another £200 quid on the paint i wanted in the first place............................

Sunday, 3 May 2020

A little slower than expected.

But given the fact i'm getting any materials delivered during lock down is something of an accomplishment, just a little frustrating when you actually have the motivation but are forced to wait. Still it all turned up Friday so got to work fitting reinforcement rings to my bulkheads and then got to cap them in solid Oak.

After today the fore cabin bulkhead shall be ready for paint and final fitting then just need to fettle the right hand saloon bulkhead and that too is ready for the same. One thing that took a lot of time - and hats off to Jack (Laurent Giles) for figuring out how back in the day - was floor heights, i know, niche right?

I must've spent a good day Thursday pondering not just floor but also door heights as the heads door can also close off the saloon all in a progressively diminishing space horizontally-speaking. I got there in the end, not helped by losing an old work diary from 2015 with all the fore cabin measurements i took before ripping everything out. Kinda made the job just that little bit more fiddly although the laser took the edge off - its a god-send for this work.

So by the end of this coming week i will have the saloon and fore cabin bulkheads in and finished then to join them both up, fore/aft-wise to make the heads to port and hanging space to starboard by way of two more bulkheads then that's the major structure put back in the front. 

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

A slight change of plan......

Originally the plan up front was to make two compartments utilising some curved plywood - one for the heads and the other a hanging locker but after looking at my drawings and realising the intersection of heads bulkhead meeting the main bulkhead was miles away from the compression post decided to effectively reinstate what was there before.

It not as much of a waste of time as you'd think as the old structure was rotten and secondly i get a nice big cubby hole into the fore cabin, sorta makes it a snug / den in my eyes. Plus by having a full width front bulkhead now, i can tie everything together giving the boat a lot more rigidity plus i need to find someway of anchoring the babystay fitting makes this revised arrangement a problem solver all round.

The pace of work is a little slower than i'd of liked but still finding my feet abit but my plan since lockdown was always to get the internal structure back in the boat spray-finished and fitted. I'm hoping by then (a months time) lock down should be over and then i can earn a bit more money to finance a few more bits and pieces to move the project along.

By the end of the week i'd like to have the fore cabin bulkhead glassed in and the right hand side main saloon bulkhead in too then its down to fitting the intermediate bulkheads to make the heads and hanging space then onto the main saloon area. 

Friday, 24 April 2020

Epoxy number three please.....

So now i'm half way through the final gallon of the good stuff (RIP Reactive Resins) its time to look for its replacement. Thought i was gonna go the MAS route but at £160 delivered for 6kg thought better of it, i reluctantly looked at West Systems and that's £140 delivered for a 'B' pack so over to google to find my new epoxy.

I found a company called Polyfibre but couldn't find any tech sheets of mechanical properties or specs so ruled that out which left me with Easy Composites & their EL2 epoxy system. The main objective was to compare mechanical properties with both West's and Reactive's products I've been using over the years.

Interestingly EL2/AT30 is superior to Wests 105/205 combo in terms of mechanical properties and a quick chat with their tech guy confirms it's good with all filler additives including longtime friend of the show Cabosil and doesn't blush to any great extent so put an order in. 

Cost-wise it's pretty much the same as Reactive's epoxy, works out at around £15 per kg delivered which is better than West Systems at nearly £24 a kg delivered and Mas at £27 a kg. So from here on in (or until they go broke too) i shall now use EL2 epoxy & AT30 Fast Hardener for the project. 

Knowing what i know now, when i took a call from Reactive Resins as to whether i wanted anymore resin, me saying no then them going belly up a couple of months later i may stockpile enough EL2/AT30 to get me through to the end as companies of all shapes and sizes are going pop daily. Initial impressions of the resin are good, low viscosity which i like and pretty clear too, i shall report back after I've knocked it up in different additives. I have enough reactive epoxy to get the heads and R/H main bulkhead in then will switch to the new kid.

At the moment work's progressing although talk about the wrong time to run out of nitrile gloves and a few other bits of PPE, what i pay £6 for 50 pairs of gloves now costs around £25!  Still I have enough to get the bulkheads up front in, the left hand side is done, i now need to build up the curved bulkhead, sheath, paint then fit and same with the R/H main bulkhead.


Tuesday, 21 April 2020

I'm not hating it yet............

So there's that and what with my new measured approach of starting one job finishing one job its slowly bearing fruit. I got the compression post assembled and fitted, this is a key component as everything stems from it: the main bulkhead which locate either side of the compression post via a 12mm deep groove help transmit the rig loads through the hull. 

The only slight concern is the post is bowing outwards to towards the stern by about 1.5mm in the middle so think i'll brace it horizontally when it comes time to attach the heads bulkhead to the back of the post like i did the cockpit lockers when the whole lot popped by an inch.

I mean lets be honest the Centaur's rig in standard form is held up by a bewilderingly small amount of hardware, the main shrouds are fastened with 2 x 50mm penny washers either side bolted through a balsa cored deck. The inners make the windows leak such is the tension created by that arrangement and the compression post on my  'A' layout was a piece of 35mm diameter stainless tube bolted (offset by some 50mm) to the coachroof.

I've taken the shrouds to the outside of the hull on mine which will land on 10mm solid stainless steel chainplates through-bolted to a 20mm thick glass plate that measures 300mm x 300mm so i'm on the right track although as a mate pointed out at the time, "everything has a failure mode so could end up with half the side of the boat missing if that lot lets go!"

I try not to think about these things, that and whether i put enough back into the keel stubs but once you go down that road - I've done a couple of times - you become mentally paralysed and experience great difficulty moving forward or at least i do.

So today got the post in, the left hand bulkhead paint-protected and dry-fitted. The original plan today was to get that glassed in but then thought it'd be easier to glass the heads side of the main bulkhead out the boat than in. 

From memory it quickly becomes a sauna doing glass work in confined spaces so got some cloth off the big roll and set about sheathing, seemed a lot easier than i remember so stuck it out in the middle of the lawn to 'kick' seeing as the weathers so good at the moment. Tomorrow will see me sand that back and set the bulkhead in its groove on the post after a light bead of thickened epoxy in said groove and then off to races tabbing in both sides.
I was going to fit the floor (anti slip vinyl the same as the van) but thought with the epoxy flying about tabbing the bulkhead i'd get that done then lay the floor.