Sunday, 26 October 2014


Totally forgot to post my day out i had a couple of weeks ago helping a couple of mates pull their Centaurs from the river in Chirstchurch. Hence the piccy above of Tony's boat and Zafira pulling John's custom-made trailer, be it not very far - just to the other side of the car park.

For a boat that weighs somewhere in the region of three to four tonnes i was quite surprised the little car had that much pull although there was a distinct odour of clutch in the air. For the second boat we used my van as the primary hauler. But a fun morning nonetheless.

Getting rather giddy with excitement as i started veneering the top of the sofa frame with a load of scraps of the 1.5mm ply i used to make the internals look pretty and have to say it got my mojo hooked up and running again, dunno how long it'll last but i'll keep going till it runs out.

Gonna finish it off this afternoon (sunday) fill the screw heads on the inner front panel as i'll paint that white, also after much measuring concluded i'd have a double with a maximum width of some 54" so an actual genuine double berth as opposed to Westerly's idea of a double being some three and a bit foot.

Almost got the engine compartment ready, just waiting on some insulation and components for exhaust, water and fuel systems then we should be good to go. I've decided to fire the engine up on dry land to make sure there's no problems before fitting so i'll make a crate that the engine can be bolted to and will also act as a sled to put   in front of the engine compartment to help slide it down onto its rails.


Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The good ship Emmental.

It was only when i stepped back, almost off the stern i realised today just how much i've cut out of the arse end of my Centaur, the latest in 'weight-saving' came about from cutting a 10" diameter hole in the cockpit floor to access the fuel tanks systems.
Real pleased as its a big improvement on what was there plus it also allows the tank to be cleaned and everything coming off of it can be checked if problems occur. Like everything on this project it wasn't straight forward, taking until lunch before i had the tank where i wanted it , positioned, fixed down and then removed so i could paint.

Must of had the bloody thing in and out a dozen times including undoing and doing up the screws that hold the tanks feet on too! Still all worthwhile so now i know that works i'm hoping to do one more coat in the bilges tomorrow then bolt in the tank permanently as well as the rails.

 The only shame is the tank will be permanently mounted and wont be removable as the back feet have to be fitted after the front feet are on and the tank is strapped down. Found out after much head-scratching this morning the plate with all the inlets and outlets had to be removed to get the tank in the gap as the reinforcing cross beam that keeps the cockpit floor from collapsing obstructs the tank, still you cant have it all. I guess if it had to come out i'd find a way i'm sure.

Thursday, 16 October 2014

Lounging around.

Got to frame up the settee today after running out the hardwood to the desired dimensions, decided to frame it all up as per Richard Gunn's Mk1 Griffon, i've made a couple of cock-up's but overall nothing that cant be sorted and does look like a reasonable copy of said Griffon. 

Tomorrow i'm off to look at an engine compartment or two to crystalise a few ideas seeing as the paint i applied last weekend and Monday has only just dried back so i'll get on the case next week. 

Was hoping to mount the steel angles on Tuesday but for the paint hence i moved onto framing up the settee instead. Tomorrow i'll tab in the settee as i've left this until last as i'd rather work around the joinery than vice-versa.

The framing' under considerable pressure, a testament to the epoxy and PU adhesive that's bonded the 
bulkheads to the hull, for all my whinging it does the job i guess. Then onto the engine compartment get the rails in then that 'll allow me to close in the 'utility room' where the additional tanks live; get the bulkhead (i made weeks ago) bonded in then we've officially closed the back of the boat off from the saloon that'll allow me to then frame up the galley too. 

If by Christmas i can be back outside finishing the deck details i'll be a happy bunny...............well more happier than i've been in while on this..................



Thursday, 9 October 2014

The last word on my funk.................

Having had a week away from the boat, i've now drawn up a brief i intend sticking to. It doesn't take away the fact my hearts not really in it but now its about getting the boat to the finish line without going bankrupt.

What has this project taught me, well in my experience so far?

1) Make sure you have the funds before you start.

2) Build a workshop or a shed big enough to work in close proximity to the boat.

3) Have a plan and stick to it.

4) Only use epoxy resin for external/structural apps unless you're looking to go bust and especially when restoring a Centaur, Vinyl or Poly is perfectly adequate just not the strongest.

4) Never buy a boat with the intention of restoring (at least in the UK) as the costs are almost prohibitive (even if the boats free) a fact compounded when viewing the costs of tidy secondhand boats. I was never in this to make a profit but seeing how far secondhand values and fallen through the floor its hard to grasp the fact that what i've spent on this project to date would get me almost any Westerly in very good fettle excluding the Oceanlord and Oceanmaster. That'll give you an idea of what i've spent!

5) Give yourself no more than a year to complete, motivation is hard to maintain after that as well as the cash flow hence rule 1.

So from here on in its neither a pleasure nor a chore just a job that needs expediting....................

Ta ta

Saturday, 4 October 2014

No more clever ideas.

I've likened the relavence of my project to Marcel Marceau' voice coach and the frustrations it bestows on me to that of pushing water uphill by hand, yet this week - like the last - i would find time still having its way with me.

I'll admit for the first time (in a long time) doubts are starting to creep in about this boat ever seeing the sea again, i know whats happened and its this; this projects gone on too long. 

Largely through my own fault but aided and abetted by a continual lack of funds / time plus the decisions made and methods used.

I got real down midweek when several ideas i drew up, made then realised wouldn't work and so the (now) common site of lots of wasted materials all over the shop and a hell of a lot of wasted time sent me down the hole for a while.

In the past i'd have a cider or six and tell myself tomorrows another day but i have to keep my head 'on' as the clock is now ticking (for reasons i won't go into) so from this point forward the boat will be alot simpler inside and out which is not what i wanted (a full repro Centaur) but I can't help but think i've over-reached myself.

I've alluded to it before but i still can't get a pace or a rhythm going with this work, one of the culprits being the choice of resin used. I'm pretty sure i'll never come this way again but if i did, one thing that sticks out for sheer amount of time and money required to step-up, process and execute is epoxy resin, i will never use this stuff again i'm sure.

Apart from the above reasons, i was taping a couple of pieces the other day using poly resin and having it kick in minutes and then being able to then move on to the next bit; god it was brilliant - i actually got some momentum going for a while rather than the experience of epoxy:

First wrestle everything into the bag then find the leaks then get it pulled down and leave for 24 hours then pull it out the bag and find sanding work is needed to clean the part up before fitting - it gets me down. Not least because of all the vac tape, peel ply, breather cloth, bagging material as well as the epoxy itself at nearly £400 a keg that you have to buy to make this nightmare a reality in the first place.

What seem like the simplest of ideas on paper take a bloody lifetime to make,  i am of course not discounting a lack of talent on my part but i'm getting tired trying to accomplish simple things whilst expending such enormous amounts of effort. EDIT: I should add the workshop has proved invaluable in getting done what i have but i'm still so far away.