Saturday, 20 September 2014

How hard can this be?

This week started off fairly leisurely as i attended (imo) the Southampton Yawnfest otherwise known as the Southampton Boat Show which highlighted in almost every way why sailing and boating is on an unstoppable decline here in the UK. 

For if the sheer indistinguishablility of nearly every boat there either power or sail didn't make you reach for the exits as well as the just insane costs that are new-boat prices it was the studied indifference; the almost aloofness of a good number of staff apparently wanting your business.
It absolutely beats the shit out of me and brings out my inner class-warrior; to see hoards of old white folk as well as the younger 'beautiful' people staring down their nose as you walk past, admittedly i am a long haired ginger with tattoo's down my arm's but what happened to the credo of everyone's a potential customer?

That was the first visit in about eight years and will probably be the last for the foreseeable future unless someone can design a sailboat that's not, a) the nautical equivilent of a Rover 75 or b) a floating homage to the Korean Car Industry. 

Moving on, this week can best be described as 'challenging' having got very well acquainted with my former i'd built the previous Saturday then rebuilt twice this last week..........bored!

I've learnt this week that industrial-strength double sided tape appears to have a much higher bonding strength than epoxy! I know, i'm baffled by it too but its cost me a heap of time and money finding out that fact. 
After one side of the form imploded at the first attempt at a stupidly low pressure i later found out after i'd put additional stiffeners in i'd broken its back too which created a less than perfect outcome but one thats salvageable.

So the goal next week is to start bonding all this into the hull, i cut back the floor grid so i can get a perfect lamination down the inside front of the settee berth and onto the hull, i'm err-ing more to the MK1 Griffon approach of a large pull out to make the double berth.  

I've got a 100m roll of oak capping coming too as i dug out all the oak then realised how much time and effort would be needed to run it out to 2 - 3mm plus not possessing a band saw would make this job way more arduous using a table saw so thought it more prudent seeing how much time i've lost this week.

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Of seats & seating ............

I never thought something as simple as a settee could make my brain ache this much. Since Thursday i spent most of Friday and today measuring my ones indoors  as well as looking at websites regarding ergonomics and the approximate dimensions required by the average human being and finally i distilled all this information as to what i think is most practical for my Centaur.

I started Saturday sheathing the first of many foam components; the bulkhead that will book-end the settee from the port corner that will be comm's, electrics and cable central. I think what i'm getting nervous about is finally after some five years i now have to decide exactly where everything's going.

Hence the two days on the settee arrangement, plus i've been conversing with a mate of mine who i sailed with who had (and now sold) a MK2 Griffon and got the skinny on how that double berth arrangement worked as well as trawling the internet for any other ideas although i do like the MK1 Griffon idea of a pull out like a big drawer.

Then it hit me why not actually make them as big drawers for storing stuff, the only problem i can think of is if you needed to get to a keel bolt you'd have to pull the lot out like you were making the double up then you'd be two foot away from the keel bolts so the idea still needs tweaking.

I like the MK2 idea of folding out 180 degrees a panel that forms the double but the only thing i dont like is seeing the barrel of the hinge along the front edge. I'll have to make a decision as i want to start building it Monday along with the corner part of the sofa of which i made the former for today.


Thursday, 11 September 2014

There's more............

Thought i'd post yesterdays success that is the new chain plate mounts, after going through Eric's impeccably detailed drawings i decided to add a sheet of grp each side as the lay-up inside the hull is slightly more lumpy than the moon to create a flat even surface.

Other than that and the extra layer of cloth, everything is as per the drawing, whilst i was taking a little methodical detour i also thought it prudent to vacuum this lot too. Only problem was no bagging material other than my 10 x 5 bag i keep for laminating sheets with so in the name of progress i sacrificed it and cut it up to make two separate disposable systems for each side.

The first one (starboard) didn't go according to plan as there were too many pin holes in it so after what seemed like an eternity i tore it from the hull got another sheet of the material and tried again; it finally pulled down but only to 29Hg and not after loads of massaging of the tape all around the edges.

The port side was way more boring; went like a Wests text book of how to vacuum, be it alot more untidy than a Wests demo but i'm happy to say it pulled down on the first attempt even with a leak which i later taped up.

So i now have two rather large areas of reinforcement on either side of the hull to take the cap and inner shrouds down to. Knowing this when i'm pushing hard to windward fills me with confidence about stepping a larger backstay-less rig.

Yesterday was also a day for drawing lines all over the inside of the boat to ascertain the final position of the settee berth to port as well as battery boxes.
I've based eveything seated on my own sofas in my house and at the moment it appears that i'll be sitting almost in the bilges but i want comfort and to do that means a seat height where you can sit back and relax.

Unfortunately the Centaur doesn't have the beam of the Griffon but keeping a similar arrangement, i.e: sat beneath the side decks will be alot more relaxing than the sit-up-and-beg type seating that the dinette layout had. Although you wont be able to look directly out the windows when seated like you can on an original Centaur but then you can't on a Griffon.......


Sunday, 7 September 2014

Still, moving on................

Readers i love a list, they give you a sense of achievement and a way of quantifying progress, but admittedly can also give you a sense of how little you've got done yet this week i ticked off four tasks; wanted five but thats life, mainly due to a bit of a mid-week  disaster bonding the aeroply over the sheathed bulkhead and had to tear it down wasting quite a bit of money in the process.

Still whats life without a bit of trial and error, i got there in the end and re-learned the moderately skilled art of conforming wood, be it skinny ply to a not unreasonably tight curve.

The boats starting to take on a more modern character down below thanks to the new bulkhead even if it has a certain 'deco' look about it. 

What have i learnt this week? 

Well you cant always get wood to do what you want no matter how much you shout and swear at it, also when the going gets tough i find it best to have a little sulk; and being British, have a cup of tea then go back with fresh eyes and some caffeine running through your vains.  

Having now got the rig reinforcements bonded to the hull minus the cloth this coming week i'll crack on with the settee structures.  i spent a bit of time measuring the sofas in my lounge and getting family members to measure where the top of my head is when sat in the sofa. However when i marked out these dimensions on the new bulkhead the first thing i've noticed is how low the sofa sits relative to the rest of the boat; a bit like sitting in the bilges.

One thing i noticed surveying the interior of Mike's Centaur was you could look out of the boats windows but you couldn't get terribly comfortable leaning back.

To alleviate this i'm initally going to drop the seat base down by 150mm so effectively you'd be sat under the side deck, with the sofa back way less upright than Layout B and C which is almost vertical. 
Not being sure how this will work out i think i'll dry fit everything, nick some cushions from indoors and have a look as although i appreciate a good view i like comfort more...............

Also anyone looking for a very tidy Centaur for very little money should look here or down below to the previous post.

Au revoir.

Wednesday, 3 September 2014

Something of a surprise!

It was after emailing Tony about taking some waterline measurements that i realised i hadn't heard from Mike in a while and presumed his boat Poachers Lady must've sold.

The boat was in exemplary condition when i saw her at the beginning of the year and the biggest hurdle for a Centaur had been cleared namely a new Beta B 20 installed only a few years back i thought oh well, its gone and knowing Mike had already bought a great little motor cruiser in the shape of a Hardy 20 i thought that was the end of it, but no it hasn't sold?

Now we all know the economics of boat ownership defies theories on the subject but to have a Centaur this well-sorted with all the important bits done still unsold seems something of a mystery to me and at the price its advertised for deepens this.

So by way of thanking Mike for letting me measure the boat on a couple of occasions i've decided to post some pictures of said boat here.


Its been some time.................

But now i'm back i can concentrate on the tasks at hand; principally getting the boat into a more boat-like state, starting with the waterline.

Having spent alot of time building that box cradle to mimic how the boat would sit in the water i totally overlooked that it now sits on railway sleepers and realised only after applying data i took form the hull many years ago that something was amiss.

So the search was on to collect some data from other Centaur', having found a couple locally i duely measured & recorded their waterlines then emailed Tony Corcoran and Mike Lofthouse to see if i could measure their boats seeing as they're both in the water and would therefore give a more definitive measurement.

I can now announce my findings (for anyone wanting to re-do their Centaurs marks) that if you were to measure down vertically from the bottom of the rubbing strake down the middle of the transom at around 760mm would be where the water laps the hull; likewise if you did the same down the stem from underneath the bottom of edge of the horseshoe stem fitting at approximately 1270mm you'd hit water.

I bought the laser and stand for £120, to join these two measurements up, all of this was important as i didn't want to build out the interior and then put the boat in the water only to find i was entering the twilight zone, rather worryingly i have already glassed in the main bulkhead but luckily the boat only had to drop 10mm down at the bow which resulted in the bubble moving off the vertical but still between the two check marks on the level.

What else? oh yes i've been acquiring machines although not the easy way as like everything in my world it wasn't before a brain-aching challenge which was to build a 12" thicknesser out of two dead machines kindly gifted to me by elder brother Richard. So we now have thicknessing capabilities, just need some wood i guess.

I've made the worlds longest list of jobs to do to get the boat upto being craned over and back to the wet stuff, it is a good feeling ticking things off; makes me feel like i'm getting somewhere. Nearly forgot to mention my new favourite supplier;

I'm bigging these guys up as they finally solved the 1.5mm plywood mystery in which no one would supply it in the sizes and quantities i wanted and then after a final google on the subject and a phone call later found out not only that they would supply me with no minimum quantities and at a decent price but they were on my door step too, again like Marineware i'm nothing more than a satisfied customer.