Tuesday, 24 December 2013

I'm no Dick Everett..................

But i do keep all my sketchbooks in the desk as i have found it useful to refer to them from time to time, one goes back to '08 which is rather scary but such is life...........best laid plans and all that.

So i thought i'd post some of the more thought-out ideas and although not in any particular order chronicles how i have got to where i am.
Occasionally there is the odd flash of brilliance usually accompanied by the smell of burning then my eyes would cross and the pencil would start moving all by itself, these are the better ideas.
A lot of my ideas are pure rubbish or lead to nothing but some were worth pursuing to get the good stuff at the end or in some cases lead to a totally different conclusion that produced something for another part of the boat.

Amongst ideas for the boat is constant drawings of a 21st Century Centaur although it will never come to pass it keeps me thinking if it could be done once..........................................here have a look.

Merry Christmas.

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Is Dylan Well?

Boats are funny things, apart from anthropomorphising them, they tend to reflect their owners character quite accurately. I've come to this conclusion having followed many a blog similar to my own recording the up's and down's of ownership and restoration and realise we humans love a challenge,............ or are just plain barmy - one of the two.

I freely admit my project makes no sense whichever way you look at it but my excuse (and where i still get excited from time to time) is solving a problem with increasingly limited resources and still creating something ace.

The companionway hatch being one such example; it leaked like a sieve, didn't look great and was slowly becoming a maintenance item. It took a long time; a couple of years on and off - sketching and mocking-up designs in between other jobs until i reached the desired solution that was both practical and good looking. 

The windows too; i could've given Houdini my hard earned and had a spanking new set of frames made, only for them to start leaking again in ten years time or i could sit down and design a composite frame that has no physical fastenings, are simple to make, way more durable than the originals plus learn new skills along the way.

Its all too easy to stand on the sidelines and tell someone they're stupid - especially with the rise of social media - for thinking a little different. I got stared at like i'd grown a second head when i showed this picture to my elder brother some four years ago of what i was going to do to Dad's pride and joy.

Admittedly his first question was why? to which i replied well why not? And if it gets the boat moving quicker than 3 knots in a force 2 its worked, although there's absolutely no logic to it other than a curiosity to see if it works.

Sure I could save my pennies and buy something newer and faster and there's nothing wrong with that but for me its the willingness to think a little differently whatever the reason may be. Although in my case its normally penury so its become something of a necessity to learn these skills rather than pay for them.

Which brings me to the curious case of Mr Winter and the Centaur well. Having first read his proposal on ybw.com i thought it a little strange but then remembered the Centaur 'Lookfar' that circumnavigated the globe not once but twice and that's powered by an 8hp Honda. 

So it was with a growing sense of bewilderment when the knives came out for suggesting such 'heresy', sure there will be many constraints to overcome like working in a confined space as well as the engineering to give the idea legs. But whats wrong with a little creative thinking to overcome a problem that keeps many boats rotting in yards ?

You only have to look at my previous post below to see there's yards up and down the country slowly filling up with dead and dying boats and if Ebay is any kind of yardstick there's an almost inexhaustible supply at present.

So i say good luck to Dylan for approaching this problem from a different angle and one i'd certainly never would've thought of.

As Edward de Bono said, "No way of looking at things is too sacred to be reconsidered".

Sunday, 10 November 2013

How about this?

Its been a month since last posting and have been doing some paid work not much admittedly as well as a bit of travel to get my mojo back. The first trip was a long way from home, riotous and quite intense - the second one was closer to home, Lynmouth, catching up with a mate of mine and proved way more relaxing and a lot more interesting regarding all things Westerly.

Having strolled around the coast we came upon a little place called Watermouth, if you blinked you'd miss the entrance but as soon as we got into the yard it resembled a Westerly boat park. Interestingly there are a lot of Fulmar's around these parts as well as a plethora of Centaur's and Berwick's but what caught my eye was a Centaur buried about six inches in the ground. 

The boat looks a picture of neglect but on further inspection proved quite a find in my opinion as it appears to be a real early boat with bronze port holes, tufnol winches,.....well tufnol everything, a wooden compaionway hatch and bollard cleats on the aft quarters.

I couldn't believe it as i remember seeing pictures of Centaur No 1 posted on the yahoo groups server showing all these details, imagine my surprise when getting some fish and chips in Ilfracombe that i would come face to face with the actual boat as well as an immaculate grey-deck Centaur, again '69 -'70 vintage. 

So in the space of a few miles i'd seen three of the earliest examples of the marque, two of which looked impressive and a third sadly rotting into the ground, if i didn't have my hands full....................i dunno maybe i'll start the equivalent of a pet rescue home for vintage Centaur's when mines back in the water.

Friday, 11 October 2013

There's something bothering me.......

Its not the fact that this project has taken too long, or the out-of-control costs or what the end result will be - no its the uncomfortable feeling when things just aren't a hundred percent, its been a problem the last couple of years and it just won't go away - i just can't get it into gear.

Once again i'm deep in conversation with myself where i dig up whats really bothering me to not make progress forward and the one thing that keeps cropping up is the lack of workspace.

The constant ball ache of dragging tools and materials out from every corner of the garage workshop, the van, from under the boat or bench and generally digging around collating things into some form then balancing things on my knee, end of the small bench in the corner, or the table saw or the rather dusty floor.

So i have decided to build a modest shop next door to the shed, it'll be the same lightweight construction as the main shed (2"x2" and tarp wrapped). The hope is by 'knocking through' one major benefit will be a dedicated workspace separating dust from the main shed whilst having everything to hand and better ordered too, you can't believe how much time i lose at present looking for tools and drawings not to mention the bloody hoovering of everything daily.

When i came back from the IOW last year i meant to do it but convinced myself it unnecessary but seeing how long its taken to make some really basic joinery pieces and i haven't even got started yet i feel the only way to up the pace is to take the project more seriously in terms of my work environment so when time and indeed weather permits i'll start work on its construction.

This week saw the main bulkhead cut and machined, its not fitted as having a midweek tantrum due to being waist deep in tools and crap i stopped everything and spent yesterday loading the van for a run to the tip. I think that put me in an odd frame of mind cutting up and disposing of jigs and patterns that i spent an age designing and making now surplus to requirement - totally irrational i know but still troubling to me.

Troubling as the ends don't seem to justify the means, well they do of course - thats erroneous - but to spend days making a jig or pattern to then use it the once exascerbates my feelings of apathy.

Still tomorrows another day.....................................................

Monday, 7 October 2013

"Step away from the air saw"

When I started this project back in 1861 I completely underestimated the need for many and various power tools, being a jobbing chippy i thought i had more than enough to tackle a build such as this but in the last few years i must of  bought every air tool plus a compressor as well as a plethora of sanders and grinders.

But my favourite tool and one that always comes out of the toolbox first is one i have on long term loan from a mate and thats the air hacksaw, its addictive too largely due to its versitility and lack of dust it creates. For the past two weeks its all i've used  - well that and grinders of varying sizes, but its made removing the interior a breeze.

Today started out with the usual amount of staring at the task in hand for a good 30 minutes then slurp coffee then rub chin - then more coffee then suit up, gimp mask on, cans on and off we go. Todays brief was remove half the main bulkhead whilst carefully unpicking it from the internal moulding that is the heads, this duely done i caught the reflection of the heads moulding in the bright light of my worklight to see nothing but bubbles in the gel no doubt years of piss splashes and water from the basin as well as the heads when heeled.

Thinking this wont do i made the heads history literally in minutes then got thinking i've taken everything out from the transom to the forepeak why not take the forepeak out? For a good half hour i weighed it up but realising there was little to be gained put the saw down and started hoovering.......for a change.

Since the design brief is so fluid i have to reign myself in and not get carried away although i can't / won't compromise on the vision i have in my head there is still a bit of me that has at least a couple of toes touching the ground to make sure the project remains on a path of sorts..................................

Tomorrow i'll glass in the bearers then the bulkheads and start putting the centre of the boat back together.


Saturday, 5 October 2013

Anyone for Laserquest?

Its one of those ideas i've harboured from the start, to make the boats cabin a better place to be and seeing the wasted space as i removed the moulding - no doubt one of the many sacrifices to mass production - made me think i really need to plan this before fitting anything back in. Its safe to say not much got done this last week other than borrowing a mate's laser level and putting the floor bearers down seeing as regardless of what i do above, the boat will need a floor.

I was amazed that after sweeping the laser around the bilge i could drop the floor some 50mm and still have a similar shaped floor to what went before. 

Having got everything bedded on sikaflex and levelled to the laser i'm now to remove the port side of the main bulkhead. Waving a laser as well as a conventional bubble about the place i'm more than a little sure that nothing is on the money, this is a little concerning as i levelled the boat after the keels were fitted to both the main bulkhead and three datum points externally. My thoughts now are that all the bits i've fitted to the bubble may sit at an odd angle once on the water - how do i know this?

Well after surveying the main bulkhead it leans out at the top on the port side towards the sidedecks some 10mm over 2ft so that translates to 30mm from bilge to mast step whilst vertically level on both sides of the door opening at either ends by respective side decks its a total car crash.

I think this has contributed to a recent dip in motivation as trying to put right other peoples work and then execute mine precisely has always irked me - why can't people do the job right the first time? - i know i'm committing something approaching heresy when i say this but my Westerly wasn't very well built at all.

Seeing as the press refer to them as the byword for quality; of late i've referred to them as something altogether different and not entirely broadcastable, still in their defence the numbers they were producing them in, the standards were going to slip - Lloyds cert or not. Which reminds me, i've never ground so many air bubbles out of a bilge than on mine, more so than the outside after it was stripped so how the hell my boat passed muster is anyones guess?

Still this coming week i'll don the red tunic and brown trousers one more time and remove most of the main bulkhead with one a little more straighter and also to provide a little more leg room in the heads at the same time. I should say at this point that the plywood is now coming from Bamptons in Southampton, these guys (Bamptons) are top notch with decent grade Far Eastern as well as Gaboon based ply and at prices that don't make your arse droop either. 

I've also sorted out the mess i made earlier in the year trying to make structural panels out of bi-ax cloth and epoxy, instead of trying to do it in one go i decided to laminate a panel a day and its been a total success and will have enough left over to make the backing plates for the chainplates and a few other things besides.

Only problem is i'll need another 'c' pack of Wests, number 6 if my mind serves me correctly what with the two 'b' packs i bought at the start of this project and the half a 'c' pack i bought off a forumite thats getting on for nearly £3000  in resin alone...................................

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

Backwards Forwards..................

The reason i say that is the last few months i've been going back to various points in the project and re-doing or re-working the original ideas, I realise i'm making this project up as i go along now, the cockpit lockers being a great example. Sitting on my mates Griffon getting drunk whilst looking into a cavenous cockpit locker got the synapses firing (even after many bottles of Henry Westons Oak-Aged neuron killer) and thought i can do that on mine.

Even now i see ideas all the time in all manner of places & situations and go; brilliant that'll work on the boat, the latest epiphany was the boats interior as i'm almost ready to fit the engine my mind turned to the cabin/living area and after much sitting around in the dust and mess measuring and chin-rubbing i concluded it'd be easier to rip the lot out and start again.

Not - you understand - that the decision was taken lightly as i want to paint before winter and with the rather parlous state my finances are in, the sensible money would say sand off the snots of resin and start wet-sanding the interior back to life but the essence.....no the pivot (Elgar's Nimrod playing softly in the background) around which this project articulates is creating the ultimate Centaur.

(Elgar still playing............but rather louder now.)

I will not make an original.......(yawn)..........concours......... (mega yawn) exact copy of a boat with all the inherent problems like; (sharp intake of breathe) the headlining, the wobbly keels, the leaking companionway, the condensation problems, the leaky windows, the crap looking factory coamings (imo), the non-exsistent access to........uh - everything; together with the inconsistent build quality.

All these things ladies and gentlemen.....(your ranting now........no i'm not)  are to be eradicated on my boat, a modern Centaur if you will and we'll go to the moon and do the other things...................what??? (sound of needle dragging across a record)...............er..............sorry - got a bit carried away there.

But seriously trying to create this boat is hard as the brief is still forming (even after all this time i know) i mean i love this project but hate it in equal measure; I love it because i know i will create a masterpiece (in my eyes) but hate it for the years of my life its taken but you know what? I can't do a half-arsed job, i really can't, its hardwired into my DNA and who knows where the money's gonna come from to finish it?

But finish it i will.....................................i wonder if i have got OCD? I know i like the drinks coaster on my desk square to the edge.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

I can almost touch it...............................................

Yes i have conquered the engine bay, no more will i have to crawl around this bloody space getting covered in glass dust and other crap. All the glass work was finished today (Sunday) so when i have the time i'll re-drill the holes in the Aluminium plates now bonded into the bulkheads and fit the newly-powder-coated steel angle then its chain hoist in the shed roof and get the lump in.

Got a bit giddy wiping the penultimate list off the wipe-clean board this afternoon, after this i need to attack the interior get the windows and coamings finished and we can paint.

I bit the bullet and bought the mega expensive cleats and stanchion bases i was whinging about last month but not before i sold a load of old cordless tools i no longer use on ebay to raise the money. I went a different route to start with and what got delivered was a load of damaged, poorly-made rubbish.

So after a bit of soul searching i decided there was only one way i'd find nirvana: that was buying the right gear (even if it is limb money) as i'd only regret fitting the other rubbish and you spend a long time looking at things like that on a boat......well i do,............ sad i know. 

Still the last bit of glass work in the engine bay was also my most ambitious as i went 'wet method' so cut large pieces of cloth to go from the middle of the bulkhead down onto the bilge four times in 600g bi-ax. I decided i'd do it in two hits of two each side, starting on port as that was the more uncomfortable side for me so didn't want to tackle it tired, i even penciled on the bilge where to put my feet so as not to tread in the freshly rolled cabosil.

I say ambitious as the space is so confined and squating half-in half-out with a one metre long roll of soaking wet cloth in rubber-gloved hands got me thinking i'd bitten off more than i could chew but to my amazement everything went swimmingly.

If there were any flies in the ointment it was rolling out the last two panels for the starboard side on a piece of 4mm ply i was using as my wet board, which by then had a heap of already setting epoxy from the previous three hits and was starting to gel. I only realised this when i tried to roll the newly-wetted cloth onto the cardboard roll and realised i had a battle on my hands, it came up off the ply but only after i'd stretched it way out of shape but the gods were smiling and i managed to roll most of the rucks and creases out of it in the bay. I sanded the rest out this morning to lay the final panel on the bilge floor, i just hope the gods smile on me a bit longer as i'm still determined to paint this thing asap, i'd hoped in August but somehow time and circumstance seem to conspire against me, here's hoping.


Tuesday, 27 August 2013

More stuff........................

Spent the day cutting, shaping and fitting the engine bearers, got the first pieces in and will move onto marking and drilling for the steel angle. Theres a few things i'm still puzzled over as the bearers are true and plumb in the horizontal and vertical yet the starboard bearer is 6mm lower than the port side - odd.

Still its better than the first attempt which was an engineered solution using 18mm marine ply, it looked good until i planed it then decided hardwood was the way to go. I went to my timber merchants and bought four metres of Sapele window board, whacked it all in a vacuum then got down to cutting and shaping.

Quite pleased with this solution but having used a ton of the stuff i'm almost out of epoxy again still its all in the name of progress, which reminds me i got the plastic tank dry-fitted to check dimensions and space - all went swimmingly although i had to build a plinth for it to sit level so the rather expensive wema sender will work.

To be honest I'm a bit paranoid about forgetting to fit things before the engine goes in as once its in it'll make fitting anything behind it almost impossible - better make a list i think.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Slowly slowly catchy monkey

As this projects default speed is glacial i was surprised to have fitted the stern tube in a little under two hours, I dry-fitted everything then cut the setscrews (threaded bolts) to length, figured out a method for each part of the job then went for it.

I found i'd fitted it a bit arse-about-face having seen the inboard end not quite plumb in the vertical it dawned on me that would have been threaded on after fixing the outboard end - no matter though. The fitting i had made is way bigger than the original add to this the massive fillets i created on the thrust bulkhead restricting the width and it was impossible to thread this on afterwards.

Incidentally when i removed the old stern tube fittings (just like the keel bolts) everything was just above finger tight & wondered why there was so much vibration coming from the engine last time it was used. Also there were no spreading washers on the backside of the bulkhead so the locking nuts were buried half deep in the plywood - not cool.

But as the pictures show all thats a thing of the past, (A4 stainless everywhere) next week i'll start laminating up a load of white oak to make the engine bearers and then its eyes down for the engine installation.

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

Shiny thing make it all better.........again.

I got a call whilst wedged into the engine bay this morning, gotta admit i couldn't be bothered to move so waited until i'd finished washing and sanding the epoxy to play back the phone message. Turns out my bits were ready to collect, these being the parts that'll allow me to fit my engine to the boat.

Having handed over my debit card for them to assault and batter i stood there drooling like a complete idiot over- lets face it lumps of metal - but being your typical magpie-minded bloke i find you cant beat a good shiny object to stare at and like that my bad mood of the last few weeks lifted.

Plus the fact i feel in some small way i'm getting closer to the prize, that being never having to squeeze myself into the engine bay ever again, all i need from here on in is to fit the bearers, fit the new fuel tank when it arrives and we're ready to go - hoo-feckin-rah.

If there was a downer it was finding one whole gallon of my famed concrete floor paint that i use for bilge painting had gone off so i'm hoping to get an order 24hr'd tomorrow to wrap up the engine bay by the weekend or at least be ready to glass in the bearers early next week.

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

I'm still sulking abit

But not as much - as i want this boat done now, so have reconciled myself to spending the money to get the bloody thing finished. 

I got back into the engine bay to start the final bits and pieces to prep for the installation not least of all repairing the thrust bulkhead which had come away from the heap of chopped strand that had previously kept it part of the boat.

The old stern tube cleaned up very well so I'll be re-using that but she'll get a new prop shaft, cutlass bearing and new inboard fitting to take a pss seal to get the engine in and aligned - you know the wallet can only take so much at once. 

Then todays work involved laying a coat of primer on the locker surrounds as i'm terminally bored filling and fairing them and had no idea where i was at with them, suffice to say they need more work but at least i can see where now.


Sunday, 21 July 2013

How much?!!!!!!!!!!!

I've spent today pricing the last of the hardware i need to purchase so i can drill the fastening holes into the deck and epoxy before spraying so i need to purchase in the next couple of weeks.

Monies more than a little tight for me at present but justified the expense as it means i can move on but to say there's been an increase in price is putting it mildly. An example being YS fittings, I originally priced everything i needed in December from a host of chandlers up and down the country and all I can say is its a feckin joke. Fairleads that were £38 are now over £50 and deck cleats that were £31 are now over £45, I mean how is a 30%+ price increase possible in a little over six months?

My wages at best have plateaued if not gone down in real terms, so how do prices keep magically rising when i'm pretty sure (based on what i do for a living) demand is more than sluggish given the financial climate?

Another example - plywood, what was £18 for a sheet of 12mm is now £24 and thats in the space of three months! I make no apologies for ranting for its not without good reason as i'm desperately trying to keep focussed on getting this boat finished but with prices for components and materials moving in an upward-only direction & at an alarming rate I am amazed Westerly's and the like kept going as long as they did.

Rant over.

Any comments on this (and anything boat related) always welcome.


Friday, 19 July 2013

I can almost smell the paint

Yes i'm almost there with the deck, i have a few more bits in the cockpit to fill and fair namely all then and we'll be ready to prime. I've also been busy prototyping the coamings with an eye to getting them made this coming week. That said i have a set of wardrobes to make and fit this week too but i seem to have found my mojo or a bit of it despite the heat wave.

It is because of the weather i've been keeping odd hours on the boat - either starting early or working on into the night as this is when the temperatures are at their lowest. I'm hoping over a few evenings next week i'll have the cockpit ready for barrier coating and then i can mask up and get priming.

I'd like to say that the filling and fairing on this project has been fun but that would be one bloody great lie for it is a truly arduous task that i will never repeat; i promise you that. If i ever buy another boat (which i don't think is likely) and it has osmosis - tough shit, its not getting a peel knowing what it takes to remediate

I still feel a little anxious as we move into the latter half of the year with no topcoat on the hull but judging how inconsistent the UK weather is its got to be done in the next couple of months as i can't face the hassle i had at the beginning of the year with all the delays the weather bought.

One thing i have never quite reconciled is how long everything takes when you work alone, it drives me to despair at times, going about my tasks ticking them off one by one and you stand back and see what its contributed to the overall project and i think is it ever going to get finished? It will of course, but i would happily sit down with anyone contemplating what i am doing and try to talk you out of it.

I thought the other day how it would of been easier to have started with a brand new hull & deck (if such a thing existed) but then i thought no it wouldn't as i have structurally modified so much it would of been easier to have built a new boat from plans. I'm being slightly gloomy and i have no one to blame for where i'm at but myself but i just can't reconcile the sheer amount of effort required on a constant basis to make the smallest of steps.

So i look to August as a pivotal point in this project as when the boat's primed and the engine on its bearers it should will be downhill all the way.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Right, where was i?

Spending all of June and the first week of July working on the bungalow wasn't really what I envisaged. I only intended to shoot-in new internal doors and give them a lick of paint. However when looking at brand new painted doors against cracked walls as well as discoloured gloss and the now shitty looking original joinery I inadvertently set about tidying the place up unintentionally re-decorating, re-plastering and re-making all the joinery in the process.

Now some six weeks later I can get on with the business of boat(re)building. Right: now where did we get to last time? I'd just finished the cockpit speakers and that weekend I started cutting bales of cloth for the windows.

Thats right I'd just started work for the second time on making the windows having not been particularly excited about the wooden frames I'd made some two years previous. Still the idea was sound just the execution poor so decided to copy the frame i'd made in marine ply using epoxy and cloth so no chance of rot.

I would make each frame as a three part affair; outer frame (the bit you see externally) then the mid section and then a trim piece to sit over everything inside. Now to speed this up I would batch each lot of frames so i would make four outers then four middles and four inners, sounds good no?

Infact I'm still abit pissed off with the amount of time and money i wasted (2 days and £100). I thought it'd be a great idea to laminate all four panels up in one hit separated by peel ply. Long story short i ended up with a panel of solid bi-ax 1000mm x 600mm and about 20mm thick that I only managed to separate with wedges and a large mallet and not without alot of damage to the panels but as with everything on this project another lesson hard learned.

If i'm being honest the work on the bungalow was a convenient distraction, as by the beginning of June I had worked some four months straight give or take the odd day for paid work and was finding it hard to keep the pace.

It hasn't helped though going straight back into fine filling & detailing the deck and companionway, tedious at best but with extra-ordinarily high temperatures it makes the day a little more tetchy when epoxy kicks super fast. Still; taking a positive the stanchion bases that were all previously knackered look brand new and should look great once painted.

To help ease myself back into it some more I tackled a job this weekend to make a few more roller bearing bars to hang the various rolls of cloth and peel ply on as the rope was slowly cutting through the cardboard rolls the cloth's mounted on making it impossible to un-roll. At the time of writing this i'm still optimstic about getting the deck primed in the next couple of weeks but i have moments still of feeling totally overwhelmed by the sheer volume of work thats left not to mention money to find.


Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Speak to me

I really should make a master list of every single item that will go on the deck moulding as i nearly forgot the housing's for the four speakers in the cockpit. After taking delivery of the Fusion 402's via Ebay i got to work measuring and making and have to say they look pretty blooming good. The goal as with everything in the cockpit is:

1) Flush-mounted so no crick in your back when sat against the coaming and
2) It looks like they should be there, you know 'factory fit' look.

Having acomplished this my mind turned to the locker lids as the last one i made the other day has now been lipped so its time to reinforce them both. The big one i made a while back had started to bow where i had been walking on it un-supported so I decided to dust off the vacuum pump and put the lot in the bag to get the lid straight.

As of this evening to be doubly sure i placed a couple of boxes of plaslode 1st fix nails and a saw on top of one lid while the other didn't look too bad, here take a look.

Saturday, 25 May 2013

A week (almost) in pictures

I've really been at it this week having got the last in the trilogy of cockpit lockers fitted out and almost complete. Barring a temporary lack of materials it went quite swimmingly although that did slow my pace a bit.

Next week i'll start on the speakers housings for the cockpit then coamings for the coachroof and finally make the composite window frames after this its sanding time and barrier coat everything thats made of ply with 422B additive as i've got tonnes of the stuff left.

The move after that is to the engine room to start working out bearer placement which i'm none too looking forward to but it must be done. The original plan at this point was to get the engine in and bolted down on its bearers then paint but seeing how much damage i'm doing to things like the cockpit and companionway area i will get the interior bulkheads and frames in so as to minimise any further damage.

The reason why i need to fit interior bulkheads and frames is i'm gutting the saloon as i have figured out an astonishingly easy way of getting a decent size galley and a usable (4'6" x 6'6"') double berth into the main area but more on that another day.



Monday, 20 May 2013

Pull your finger out!

Spent Sunday resting my face..... sounds odd; but too much fine glass dust in contact with your skin and no matter what mask you have - eventually it gets through and quite frankly i was on fire and not in a good way. 

Being a bit bored i took a look at my usual t'internet sites, no not those ones boat ones and thought i'd have a shuffty at Tim Lackey's rather excellent site , (i recommend everyone to by the way) and was amazed to see in the time its taken me to get my boat ready for primer he has completely stripped and rebuilt four whole boats (one a year).

I don't know if Tim has an army of workers or whether he doesn't sleep but i can't figure out how the guy does so much quality work in so little time. To be frank it got to me as i've been working solidly since February give or take for work and thought i was making steady progress but this guys in a different league.

Undeterred i wiped everything from the wipe-clean board and re-wrote my tasks then broke each task down into smaller tasks and now have a site diary with everything written in daily that i want to accomplish. 
Two potential outcomes might occur: either you'll see the Centaur hit the water quicker or i'll hit the bottle quicker, one of two. 

I hope its the former but in all seriousness i have let the day to day planning slip a lot finding myself plodding instead of crashing through the tasks. So todays goals were to cut the hatch garage out and fix a ply panel to it and cut out and frame up the final locker in the cockpit.

I'm pleased to say Job done

Saturday, 11 May 2013

Ah that's what I should've done!

Its a little frustrating working on the boat at the moment as i'm cursed with a hindsight-based problem-solving capability. Its happened a few times where i've spent the day making something only to sit back; look at it & instantly come up with a better way of doing it.

I now intend to plan a bit more before jumping in, i did this when it came to making the instrument binnacle as normally i'd look through one of my many sketchbooks and go "that one" and then to the shed to make it.

Not so - since my new-found powers have emerged, i spent half a day making a cardboard prototype of said binnacle and sure enough it looked a bit ridiculous so after a couple of alterations came upon the winning design to which i set about making the thing for real.

I don't know if its down to the fact i'm slowly losing the interest that i'm throwing everything at it or if its just my default setting of 'jump in' and worry about everything afterwards but once more with an eye to my ever reducing wallet  i need to stop and plan more so as to keep waste to a minimum.

Still that said i now have the binnacle and hatch garage all finished, i just need to glass in the hatch top but for some peel ply which i ran out of and then onto the coamings which i'll start this week. 

After that frame up the cockpit tidies cut in the speaker housings and frame up another locker to port and we're ready for primer. I've still got just under three weeks to achieve this so will push like crazy to get there.  

Friday, 3 May 2013

All hand's on deck!

After what seemed an eternity (two months) working my amateurish magic on the hull i could finally look upwards to all things deck based..........yes! I'd finally have gravity working with me for a change. I got done sanding the hull back to 400grit by mid April then had a couple of days tidying away the canopy and getting sorted for a move upstairs. 

I was trying to remember the last time i did anything on the deck as there was plenty of unsanded filler about, the main goal was to get a lot of the detailing sorted like filleting and glassing-in all things wooden. Originally i was going to barrier coat the wood but like the keels i don't ever want this job again so have gone for the 'belt and braces' approach of sheathing everything in 450g biaxial cloth.

First thing was rounding over every square edge to get the cloth to sit down, not a big job on paper but in practice two very long days. 

I decided i'd mask up as much as i could as i have an almost pathological aversion to avoidable sanding and hoovering. As i write this all the woodwork is now waterproof if a little ribbed in places. I've also fitted the front end piece to take the bow roller and windlass so that went on today so i'm getting through the jobs but with only one pair of hands there's still  loads to do.

Next on the list is to fill in the centre of the old hatch garage to avoid water getting trapped and then onto making the instrument binnacle and coamings. Seeing as paid work's at an absolute minimum i want the deck ready for primer by the end of May...........here's hoping. 

Saturday, 6 April 2013

The pulling of the shroud

Have just opened the canopy to reveal a vast improvement on what was there the day before. I was still quite buzzed up when i turned in last night - don't know if that was the paint fumes or the fact my over-eagerness paid off.

Still its quite a sight seeing something that's 42 years old look brand spankers, the paint has revealed a few horrors but nothing that can't be overcome with some filler and a DA. 

chin chin

Friday, 5 April 2013

Body in White

I'm known in my family for my impatience - to some its annoying to others its plain stupid, after what seemed like an eternity I did a tester patch thinning some 10%. Not seeing anything wrong with what i had just sprayed and being terminally bored with the weather i thought fuck it, man up, mask up and get the paint on. It went like clockwork, my now well rehearsed dropping of the vertical shroud went without a hitch too. After the last hit on the starboard bow I put the gun into soak closed the boat off and whacked the heaters on.
From start to finish it wasn't more than an hour of actual painting, the horizontal surfaces between the keels were a pain in the arse as i'm relying on gravity for the paint feed but other than that alls well. So now i know you can spray Penguard HB using a Sealey HVLP gun (2.5mm) and 10% thinners.

Electricity bills gonna be a shocker.

Wow, yet more waiting.........................

I know us English go on about the weather and how crap it is but it really does suck the big one right now. The boat is tack ragged down after building a roll-up-able vertical shroud all the way around, cutlass housing removed - everything done - but the temperatures are still too low (1.2 C). I need to spend a bit of time modifying the paint as the primer i'm using is designed for airless spray which requires huge pressure (over 2000 psi) and i only have HVLP (around 50 - 60 psi) so need to thin it abit so will probably spend most of today spraying little areas under the boat with different % thinners to see which one works.
I found a paint system called 'Alexseal' which can be applied using low pressure but at £145 for a US gallon it would be a last resort. I've also been looking at vinyl wrapping the hull too as the materials are cheap enough to make it a possibility and the fact you can get some amazing metal-flake and glitter finishes which imo would pep-up the boats appearance no end.

Sunday, 24 March 2013

Almost there..........

I spent Thursday and Friday coming to the end of what's been five weeks of near non-stop hard graft to get the hull in primer, I'm not quite there yet hence the title but I'm on the last straight. I now know you can barrier coat a Centaur on your own to the required film thickness in a little under nine hours but you will need that third shredded wheat and decent air temperatures.

It was with a sense of excitement i could finally rub out "fill and fair hull" on the wipe-clean board seeing as its been there nearly two years and was a touch emotional when the last coat went on thinking i wouldn't have to do this again. Aching from head to toe and half blind in my right eye (from a direct hit of epoxy) i stood back thinking it actually looks bloody good, a feeling amplified when placing the moisture meter on the hull and it barely registering on the scale. Although I don't think for one minute I've cracked it, it feels great not hearing the alarm blaring on the Tramex.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

No re-design

Well not yet anyway. I managed to put the blog back together thanks to a designer who made an evolution of the original template my blog was based on - turns out blogger.com discontinued it a while ago.

What you're looking at now is the third and final incarnation as the previous post was written this morning just after i fucked up and the blog was rather basic looking. I found another template that looked a bit better then found this current template after one final trawl this evening - its a bit wider but is as close to the original and all because i didn't have the site backed up, 'kin idiot rog.

Do not adjust your set

The blog looks different - basically i went to alter a couple of items via the 'layout' button and when i hit 'update' i got a very different looking site. After wasting an afternoon online the nearest i got to the original layout resembled something like the lo-res brochure site.
I recovered most of the code from google cache plugged it all into blogger's html editor to no avail (all it did was throw up a load of errors) not being a coder  i've left it, maybe its time for a re-design.

cheers rog

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

One hull of a day

Nothing to say other than more sanding and filling these last two weeks and i'm almost there. I've given the hull two coats of shiny black wests so; a) i can see whats left to fill, b) it'll absorb heat quicker so will set rock hard, c) i need to seal the filler which  is porous and d) it looks pretty cool.
So on with the barrier coat next but first i need to buy some more epoxy, curiously i have loads of hardener both fast and slow but no resin and i don't want to start only to run out half way through.

Saturday, 9 March 2013

Fill, sand then repeat..............

Hi sports fans the last few weeks have gone by in a cloud of sanded epoxy, at the time of typing i have only the bit of hull between the keels and a couple of bits along the waterline to do then its barrier coat and prime.

There really is no substitute for hard work (without blowing me own trumpet) as  i tried sulking my way through the first week as well as sanding; who says blokes can't multi-task?  After this came quiet resignation to the task at hand whilst admittedly still cursing as to why i ever had the boat peeled. 

This truly has been a lesson hard learned and one that'll take many years and beers to forget, only once did i break from all the noise and dust to visit coppercoat to get the requisite coppery shiny stuff to put on the  keels. After a frothy coffee and a bloody good laugh with Ewan and Jason i came away with everything i needed to apply what will be its only coat of antifouling for a good ten years.

Then it was back to the lair for another week knocking up epoxy then sanding it off with the  industrial vac. All in all it wasn't as bad as i'd imagined although the keels definately look different but it can't be helped if i want to keep them looking as ace as they do now.


Wednesday, 20 February 2013

Shiny thing make it all better.....

Been thinking and having mild chest pains lately regarding 

a) how much I still have left to do
b) how much i still have to buy &
c) how little funds i have .

Thinking of shiny objects i was resigned.........well not resigned but thought it was a foregone conclusion I'd be buying Nasa instruments - nothing wrong with that, they're perfectly good and exceedingly well priced. 
It was while researching marine instruments on the internet i came across a company called Echopilot so immediately trawled fora and found very positive reviews as i genuinely had never heard of them.
Even more curiously it turned out they were based about a mile from my front door, eventually curiosity got the better of me so decided to investigate what they had to offer.

Disliking 'tyre kickers' in my own profession i didn't want to appear a time waster and pointed out to the very knowledgeable bloke (who talked me through what they could do)  i was only looking to get an idea of cost and capabilities. However the more i was shown what they could do the more i realised these instruments are fantastic, not only the plethora of data each one outputs but the fact you can use other manufacturers transducers and sensors, they really are the swiss army knife of the marine instruments world.

There was even an opportunity for 2d sonar but for the fact the transducer couldn't be mounted internally i'd of had one, however one thought sprang to mind - cost. I wanted these but was dreading the cost based on their technical capabilities however much to my surprise they were no dearer than Nasa's stuff.

Still brimming with excitement i couldn't help but ask the incredibly knowledgeable woman Sue who dealt with my order (Speed, Wind & Depth) why i hadn't heard of them - she said, "simple - we don't have a marketing budget anywhere like our competitors". 

It got me wondering; how many other great little companies like Echopilot exist that you don't really know about?

Saturday, 2 February 2013

Well......well what?

The canopy within a canopy has now been perfected (looks like a poor man's Eden project) and i can achieve near perfect temperatures and humidity within a couple of hours regardless of weather, this after spending Friday carving out all the polyester filler up under the rubbing strakes.

With all the filler removed i masked up the strakes ready for paint, that's still a way off but when the time comes i can release the canopy down the side of the boat to protect the paint and crack on with the deck.

I've also had enough of filling the keels with 410 so decided to apply a guide coat (dark colour) to look for lumps and bumps which although i could feel - when i painted i couldn't see. So a couple more coats, then wet sand, then barrier coat,  then hi- build, then (god this is getting tedious) anti foul and i can remove the cradle and finish the hull......... never ever peel a boat's gel coat - seriously!

il diavolo

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Always something to fix....

I have added a link opposite called 'lo-res brochures site' to combat a problem i found whilst maintaining the scribd.com site using a computer that wasn't mine.

With help from 'google drive' i've now placed all the brochures in the ether with links to them here, this enables you to truly help yourself without joining facebook, scribd.com or having to pay for them.

If it sounds to good to be true .............

Saturday, 12 January 2013

Goldie Looking Keels

What's happened since last week, well i recently received the engineering drawings from Sponberg Yacht Design concerning the new swept back rig, the level of detail is incredible and is a credit to his industry. I can't wait to use these drawings to fabricate the bits and pieces i need but for the moment I'm still on keel duty.

After fabricating a vapour barrier under the boat i got into the starboard side to finish off the last of the laminating work. I've learned alot working with Kevlar - again another string to the skills bow in this project.

Its funny having talked on the forums about propping keels with timbers and doing work yourself i will readily admit to a tingling sensation when - with my nose half inch away from the very bottom of the keel - i finished laminating the last of the Kevlar.

I say this as i have estimated from materials-used the boat weighs 3300kg and its all balanced on two end plates made of 2 x 18mm thick WBP ply - nothing under the keels , it just sits there. I remember when the bloke came to strip the gelcoat many moons ago; to get access he asked me to unbolt half of the cradle declaring "its not going anywhere" and sure enough it didn't although i bolted most of it back on afterwards.

The true test of both my 'bottle' and the panel strength of plywood came yesterday when i spent all day crouched inside the cradle under the boat mixing up and applying west system's 410 to the inside of each keel.

After the first ten minutes i just got on with it not before figuring out a way to escape, today (Sat) i'm giving myself a day off from the sanding as it gets me down day after day so think this afternoon i'll tidy the shed up and get ready to go again.


Oh yeah nearly forgot, i own agentlemansyacht.com so now its even easier to read my desultory prose via the internet, although solwaycloud.blogspot.com still works perfectly.

Friday, 4 January 2013

I'd never of thought..........

The amount of time i have spent on constructing and maintaining the boat shed truly bewilders me at times, at present I'm playing a 'cat and mouse' game with the elements; more like a catch 22 really as i need the raised floor of the shed out of the way so i can get access all the way around the bottom of each keel.

You might think little of this until you factor in the UK's rather shitty weather for by removing the floors i now have cold moist air coming up from the ground combining with the warmer air  in the shed creating an immense condensation problem with the encapsulated keels. 

If ever there was a catchphrase for this project  its; "solve one problem create three more" i agree not very catchy but accurate nonetheless.

So what to do? Well i spent the last couple of days head scratching and with one eye on my ever decreasing wallet went for the cheapest most practical solution - to make a fully sealed vapour barrier under the boat using heavy gauge polythene the like you use when pouring a concrete floor. 

Going from one side of the shed to the other in one whole piece i worked late to get it done as high humidity levels are with us for the foreseeable.

Well i went out this morning to see if the keels had stopped wetting themselves and was pleasantly surprised with the feel of the air in the shed as well as completely dry nay almost warm feeling keels.........another problem solved and all because i forgot to laminate the Kevlar when the keels were in the shop.

I get told regularly by family i should write a book about this project but i don't know if i can recount all the cock up's seeing as there's been so many and some i'd rather forget.