Saturday, 1 July 2017

We're Closed.

Cheers for the kind comments to my last post, i have a couple of avenues to follow up that might restart the project but for the time being consider it over. I'm more than happy to answer any technical queries or any questions that may help you with your own projects so for the time being.


Saturday, 24 June 2017


And like that the enthusiasms left along with two of the four hatch surrounds in one piece, it seems the time it took from me releasing them from the coachroof bonded to its shape and giving them a coat of epoxy and cloth they 'relaxed' their shape to the point they dont fit anymore.Tried to clamp them up into their original shape and 'crack' broke one in half and then did it again to another one. Brilliant! more time and money down the drain..........And then the voices start over again.

Do you really want to do this anymore?

I've been mulling the situation over since returning from NZ and my situation is this: i'm 42 years old a jobbing carpenter with no savings in the bank, no pension, a current account thats permanantly in overdraft & a paid work situation thats parlous at best.

So when in my more darker moments i think about how much more money is needed (£10 - 15K) to finish and how much i could realise from selling everything and cutting my losses, (i'm thinking inboard engine £3K, deck hardware £2K, electronics £1 - 2K tools, plant & machinery £2K and all the other items i kept of the original boat - cushions, cooker etc) i wouldn't be far off £8 - 10K.

Admittedly the above figure would still only cover half what i paid for everything but from where i'm sitting at the moment i couldn't half do with that back in the bank. Dont think i'm writing this to ellicit a certain response although that'll probably happen anyway I just can't justify how much this boats fighting me and the resources anymore.

When i started the project back in 2007 i was taking home £4k a month and getting finished each day around early afternoon such was the nature of the contract i was on (job and knock). So i was at a loose end and with the boat sat there in the yard i hit upon the idea of bringing it home to work on as it was a ballache if you forgot something plus i'd save £100 odd quid a month on yard fees. Little did i know what was waiting around the corner: namely an HMRC investigation as well as a recession (thats yet to end) both of which left rather massive holes in my personal finances.

At the time i remember thinking 'come on chin up' and that worked for a while and if i'm honest the boat was a welcome distraction from the depressing reality of my lack of paid work. But in the distance i could see problems such was the rate at which i was burning through what was left of my savings plugging gaps in my earnings. In a way i had my head in the sand thinking something would come up but from that day (2009) to this nothing really has.

My working reality over the intervening years is probably like many of yours that read this: one of temporary (2 week or less) contracts, short term prospects, jumping at a moments notice usually to work weekends and evenings sometimes far from home going hand to mouth month after month year after year. The gig economy i think they call it.

For sure theres plenty of building work out there, i keep reading theres a shortage of skilled trades in the UK and there is if you don't mind working for a third of what you did 10 years ago and i understand why housebuilders are doing this (push costs down & profits up) but its just not enough to sustain both myself  & the boat.

I know i've said in the past its as dumb to carry on as it is to stop but i'm getting older, and leaving the financial aspect to one side its the time too and the fact life feels like its on hold for me a result of the time / money paradox (when you have one you seldom have the other) plus the guilt i feel if the weathers good and i'm not working on the boat, its enough to drive you insane i know i've been living it these past few years.

That said I'm over the embarassment of failure - to be honest i'm past caring and i've got to get realistic now, i think it was sailing antares going public with the failure of his Griffon project after a year or so that put mine in perspective. Mines been in the garden for some 8 years and seems no further down the road than 4 years ago when i last ground to a halt.

Also as alluded to, paid work isn't getting any easier to come by and i'm not getting any younger plus my 'sense of duty' that initially motivated the project has all but evaporated along with most of my savings: it certainly hasn't been a labour of love - not for a long time, that ship sailed after the gel peel which only deepens my sense of bitterness at the time and money expended.

If i do stop it wont be sold as a going concern because it isn't plus: 

a) secondhand boat values are through the floor so i've got no chance &
b) like cars i'll get more money breaking it up and selling it off bit by bit which means
c) the hull and deck are essentially worthless in the present economic climate.

Apologies if i sound abit cold & unemotional about calling it a day but some hard truths must be faced. Don't get me wrong i realised i've completely ballsed up - financially speaking. I mean i've probably (since taking the boat on in 2004) done about £30k and that includes everything, from paying off Elkins Yard bill at the beginning (£4k) right upto the sheets of insulation i bought a couple of weeks ago and everything inbetween.

So there is that and no one else did that - i did - i'm not blaming anyone or anything for where i'm at. Its just a lack of time, money and if i'm being honest - inclination. I'm only too aware with every passing year (coupled with a lack of regular well-paying work) that this boat sits in my garden my options are becoming ever more limited much like my finances.

But unlike 2013 when the emotions i felt were one of embarassment & despair, this time round i genuinely feel nothing so for the moment i need to do some thinking / number crunching.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

You're surrounded!

I now have the forepeak insulated and all the internal hatch surrounds made up ready to go, stopped myself before fitting them as they looked boring (white) so i bust out the silver carbon and now they look ace.

Have spent the weekend gunning 2k high gloss over them after going wet on tacky three times over with reactive resins epoxy.

Just realised i haven't actually posted since Mads Dahlke from Sail Life channel on Youtube got in touch to pick my brains about how i built the homebrew hot vac system. Turns out he's got a bit of a challenge as i had drying out the hull but wants to do it without bankrupting himself.

Have had a bit of back and forth over the costs of my kit i built some seven years ago on email and realised what a bargain i got from Hawco who made my silicone rubber mats, still I've got Mads up and running and he should take delivery of his mat in a couple of weeks time & he'll save a bundle over a yard doing the work. I'll post some more when time permits..................................................


Thursday, 11 May 2017

Now i do.

It appears my memory muscle does still work, broke these two off the former last night and cleaned them up ready for processing into the storage pods for the forecabin:


Sunday, 7 May 2017

I really don't remember?

Memory is a strange thing especially with the passage of time this project has taken. I guess some of it is too hard to bear so i must have blotted alot out, its only when i've returned to a part of the project and as is now the case, i've forgotten to take any note of the measurements or the methodology that i have had to sit down and figure it back out. 

Not a problem as thats essentially what've been doing for the last 9..................(memory block...............err i mean) last couple of years. Now that i have settled on a design for a couple of storage pods to be fitted up under the foredeck on either side of the forecabin - one end going to the anchor locker but the other finishing two-thirds along the length of the v-berth i wanted a resolved-looking design which naturally included a curved end seeing as it wouldn't meet the new bulkhead the other end.
Problem was i couldn't remember how the hell i got 12mm ply to behave like spaghetti, so i took to my own blog using the search widget to find pics of the curved galley modules i made over two ye........... a little while back.

Turns out if anyones interested  (i doubt it) in 12mm  you need to cut a kerf 10mm deep at 5mm intervals, so with my table saws 2mm blade you get a 3mm gap between each kerf, fascinating isn't it ....not.

Also because of the angle of the forepeak i didn't want a ninety degree corner but a 120 degree one instead which meant making half a dozen 30 degree add-ons to bolt to the former i made two and a half y..........................recently.

I still have a heap of joinery i've made that needs to go back in which is nice as i don't have the ballache of making many more bits to get the insides upto muster. Another bit i had made a while ago then this weekend started playing with was the ornamental bulkhead that sits over the structural one to finish the anchor locker.

This - in the interests of weight is made up of 6mm ply and framed up with 18mm to take a hinged door so access is available, this will be either screwed in from behind or the front seeing as the insulation and subsequent liner will hide the attachment. 

Just need to topcoat it in the spray shop and that can go in, another job off the list.....................


Tuesday, 2 May 2017

Bit of a false start..................

Still spent the weekend bolting in the first of many pieces now made forthe inside, namely the locker doors and ironmongery. Didn't go quite as planned even with each screw hole properly piloted and even some copper slip on the screws, i still managed to grind the heads off  of a few of them.

What else? The keels. The keels - what can i say i'm still crazy after all these years to get them right, took the advice earlier given about 'crisping up' the trailing edge and did the same to the leading edge and the top of the trailing edge too.
To finish i gave the keels a quick coat of epoxy and pigmented it black to see the full horror of my fairing attempts from a few years ago and it is terrible but now know where to make the corrections, needless to say never get your boat gel-peeled!

I have a few days off as works slack (surprise surprise) so gonna push on insulating the forecabin and start fitting out the space.

Also nearly forgot, i have the anchor locker all done complete with foredeck reinforcing, a sub-assembly to take the forestay loads a bit better than the original that showed to be pulling slowly up through the foredeck, no really.

It looks quite '50's sci-fi but will spread the load better than the six 20mm penny washers that was the previous method. I found a bew way too of pulling glass round corners and that is to mount the piece you're glassing up on vertical plates inside the bag and then apply pressure, works a treat.


Sunday, 5 March 2017

First day back............

Its been a while, one thing and another has conspired to limit my resources for this project the last 12 months, that said i'm still pretty skint but what i want to get on with i have the materials for - things like ply, decorative veneer and epoxy.

The insides coming along but thats a closely guarded secret which i'll reveal at some point as i don't want to post too much before i get back to where it was before i destroyed the last iteration. 

For an idea of what it'll look like maybe go here, here and here.

Having spent a good few days in the shed doing maintanance i realised how awful the keels profile were when lit from the one working light at the time, so made this the first order of business not before building myself a new table saw courtesy of and equipping the shop with a complete set of tools and machinery largely made up of old 110V kit and a few bits bought on ebay. 

This way i'm completely independent of the day-to-day kit i previously had to keep removing from the van everytime i worked on the boat plus i'm not putting mileage on the tools i use to make a living with.

The profiling of the keels was always on the cards seeing as the gelplaner had all but iradicated any detail of that area of the hull so after sorting the trailing edge i thought it timely to consider the leading edge. 

The original plan was to build up with fairing compound and shape but i know from experience putting the hull back together you end up chasing ghosts via the light and shadows cast. However while assessing what to do with three of the four flood lights in the shed dead that i saw an absolute howler on the port keels front edge.

Due in no small part to me piling on the kevlar and glass i had eventually lost the original fine profile, infact the shadow cast by the one working floodlight implied my fine naca profile replaced by an almost semi-circular shape instead. 

This may seem excessive considering it is only a Centaur after all but they're slow enough already without putting the brakes on further with mis-shapen keels and seeing as the finer detail at the stubs top forward-most area was gone lead to the decision to sort it.

Cue hot-glue gun - bought for just four quid on ebay i can't recommend these enough for temporary or permanant bonding depending on application as this attached the ply to the boat with all checked before, during & after with the laser - another tool in the box thats proven its worth. Once made i glued and screwed mdf plates either side of the ply patterns so as to hold the profiles shape.

Once happy - and this is where the hot-glues properties come in - a sharp jerk of the plate and the whole assembly broke free from the hull with the glue on! So no clean up of the boat, happy days.

As is the case this was the easy bit, got there though using correx and then getting super itchy routing lap joints in the glass. All done over a couple of days so a good start back, just need to sand out the lumps in the glass and cut the profile before bonding to the hull.


Friday, 20 January 2017

Will be back soon.

Just getting my body clock round the right way having had a few weeks in New Zealand then i should be good to go again. In the meantime i think i have figured out google photos and have got all the albums sorted back in date order on my Google + page called 'collections' all accessible by clicking on 'Project Photo Album' in the right hand margin.

Highlight of the NZ trip was nerding out once more in Auckland, at the viaduct - this time around it was seeing two of the late Sir Peter Blake's Whitbread boats, Lion from the '85 / '86 race and Steinlager 2 from the '89 / '90 race although i couldn't get anywhere close to 'Big Red' as the gate to the pontoon where its parked was locked but still impressive to look at both nonetheless.

Lion New Zealand

Steinlager 2 'Big Red'. 

Work and pictures of my project will resume shortly, at present its too cold for bonding so bear with me while the weather warms up. Have got on making a few interior bits but have decided to get things finished before posting the pictures


Thursday, 19 January 2017