Thursday, 10 December 2020

The show's over.

Yep the boats in the skip, the sheds empty, just need to extract the gold sovereigns from the keels and they'll be gone too.

Forces beyond my control finally forced my hand plus the pandemic, (and we all know what we've got to look forward to economically over the next 3-5 years) plus the ever rising cost of materials and my ever growing apathy that's been with me the last 8/9 years all played their part.

The boat didn't go quietly, a partially severed index finger during the kill process temporarily postponed the inevitable, (saw jammed in the grp then released straight through my finger) but then got back to it a few weeks later finishing yesterday. For what its worth the hospitals around my way are all but deserted, where the media gets this 'crisis in the NHS' narrative from i dunno.

My arse didn't touch the seat in Bournemouth when i was called to be patched up then went for surgery two days later to have the tendons and and other bits reattached in Poole General, again very quiet and have physio at Christchurch which is also pretty empty, I couldn't fault the service. 

Still whilst chopping the boat up I observed the same structural problems i witnessed in 2015 sorting the fore peak that led me to pull my interior back out and remove the rest of the original interior. Another observation whilst slicing and dicing was how skinny and uneven the lay up was stem to stern; from the gunwale to waterline mine was no thicker than 6mm where as the deck was 15-18 mm solid laminate!   

There was never the same thickness of laminate from one side to the other but i guess it was all hand laid. I should point out the hardest pieces of structure to remove were mine; i now realize i went completely overkill, that front end could've taken a direct hit from an oncoming vessel and nothing would've broke.

That was the only part of the boat i pretty much through in the skip in its original form, everything else got chopped up to around 300mm x 300mm pieces to stack down in a 10 yard skip. For those contemplating doing the same a chainsaw is rubbish, a Sawzell (recip saw) with metal cutting blades works great along side a 4" grinder with a 1mm thick metal-cutting disc in. 

So what now?

Well I've been going through the parts locker, there is tons of stuff, the major piece being the engine which I've run up a few times in recent years and still only has 0.4 of an hour on it so will get the oils, filters, coolant and belts changed and get it advertised, should say if you're interested or know someone that might be then get in touch.

What else? There's..............well everything, instruments, hardware, full interior cushions (A- layout) various moulding's, mast, boom & spi pole, tanks, pumps, hoses, original interior fixtures, brand new heads, cooker etc. What i'll probably do is list everything here and on the WOA site with a guide price.

But other than that thanks for taking the time.  

Sunday, 12 July 2020

Slow motion.

One thing i haven't quite got used to is how long things take to do. Sure, working on your own is one giant ball ache but coupled with waiting for epoxy to 'kick' so you can get on spraying then fitting things is just doing my head in. 

So even though i have my new super ace epoxy i'm going to give their 'rapid repair' product a go as it promises to cure in 1 -2 hours. I could of course get on doing other bits in the saloon which I have but as mentioned before there's an order in which everything goes together in this project so I'm a bit hamstrung in some jobs.

Still we'll see later on this week when 10kg of the 'rapid' variety should be delivered. I think its the lack of interest in doing the work if I'm honest and having to hang around waiting for stuff to go off that's killing me at the moment, just got to get the boat done. The port side of the galley is in the paint shop getting sprayed so i can still building up the port side settee.

Monday, 6 July 2020

Saloon (Part Deux)

Its still 3D chess in the saloon but i'm used to it now, installing components in such a way so as not to fuck up the next bit. Yesterday was spent bending the galley bulkhead to my will, bit of a self-inflicted wound as i only spray finished one side and consequently it turned into a 4ft square fortune cookie. Never mind, half a dozen f-clamps, some swearing and strategically placed hardwood wedges later as well as three tubes of Puraflex 40 got it all under control.

Gonna go for the settee berth next to port and get that buttoned up and in then i'll proceed to the starboard side, think cookers, cutting back the utility room foam bulkhead and making that a length-wise sea berth. 

It'll get the same treatment as the port side, pull out and storage then i can get back up front into the heads and finish that. Definitely a way to doing this though. Paid works almost back to normal that of up and down so no change for me personally but all good as the money is starting to trickle in again.

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.

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Experiments in Paint.

Finally figured out how to make the lacquer finish i need as i can't purchase any from my usual supplier because of lock down so spent the last couple of days making paint cards (a piece of veneered MDF) to test different mixes to match the original finish

For a lacquer sold as 'Matt' it has a lot of shine to it hence the need to match pieces i sprayed three years previously. So after much dicking about with matting agent, mixing cups and many syringes i got it there or thereabouts at around 10-12% matting agent in a pot of Matt lacquer to match Morrells formulation

So now that's figured out, and quite a bit cheaper than Morrells i'm waiting on a delivery of PU adhesive, structural adhesive (Plexus) & some consumables from China so i can build up the compression post and fit that into the boat, from there everything else follows.

In the meantime I've elected to make a series of rounded corner posts required throughout the boats insides until the deliveries turn up.

Wednesday, 15 April 2020

A return?

Given the lock down and the country' impending bankruptcy i somehow feel a lot more relaxed about getting back to work on the boat.

The old days (highlighted many times here) would have me working on the boat whilst stressing about the next paycheck and where it would be coming from. Imagine my surprise from the fallout of C19 that the entire Western world is in the same boat as myself and many other self employed. And having got a break from the mortgage for a few months (have yet to apply for Universal Credit) kinda thought its now or never. So what to do?

First it was a gathering of information, digging out old sketchbooks and notebooks from the backs of drawers around the shop and looking up where i got to some three odd years ago. I remember where i was when i did the last bit of work as i was fitting foam insulation to the forecabin when the Grenfell tragedy happened, that was - i think June 2017 so almost three years.

One thing, and it'll only get worse with the ensuing economic fallout from the lockdown is the number of suppliers going under or closing depots so either way having to find alternative arrangements seems to be a thing now. At present when the current stock of the late great Reactive Resins epoxy runs down we'll be onto epoxy number three and resin number five for the project having used Polyester, Vinylester, Wests, Reactive epoxies and now probably Mas when i reorder.

So yesterday was a day of scraping back and making a few changes to the saloon. This involved making more access to the keel bolts to starboard and cutting the rest of the remains of the original sofa berth i built back in 2014. 

The reason being it seemed something of an extravagance to give over an entire side of the saloon to a galley in a 26 foot boat. So after much thought and with measuring tape in hand the cooker will go back where it was; to starboard of the main bulkhead door and the sink/icebox combo will go opposite to port against the bulkhead.

This then keeps the saloon free for a dinette arrangement but spun round 90 degrees running length-wise in the boat a la Griffon style. Got the idea after making this for a customer a couple of years back. 

I have just under 6 foot beam-wise to the inside of the coach roof in the saloon so this will just work and make for a more sociable space. The benefits are you can sleep two people in the saloon on either berths with separation especially if they're not that well acquainted and the other via an infill over the floor area; you can sleep beam wise across the the boat in what would be a 6 foot wide by nearly 8 foot deep berth. 

Also found out after all these years i had a marine ply supplier literally on my doorstep, well Verwood but i used to travel to Southampton & Poole to buy BS1088 ply only to find Bradfords builders merchants have it on the shelf so promptly borrowed a mates account and got a couple of sheets of 12 & 18mm last week, that should be enough to get the saloon done.

Paintwise i've ended up ordering 2k car paint to the spec of the Morrells stuff i normally use for furniture so should be more durable given the fact its for cars, like a lot of things at the moment time will tell...........