Thursday, 24 January 2013

The Murky Depths

I could easily tire of the grinder, it's a heavy tool to use, makes an awful din and scatters dust far, wide and in every crevice. However, it is nothing if not effective in it's work for all the above misgivings.

A little more of the old engine compartment has been cut out along with what remained of the engine mounts.

Betsy was once equipped with legs for drying out, these would have bolted through the sides of the hull, large backing pads were glassed to the inside of the cabin to support the extra load. Now, poor old Betsy is legless! The lack of legs negates the need for fixings or backing pads so both have been cut away.

Some, and I do mean some, of the interior hull has been ground to remove old paint etc, there's dust everywhere but slowly I am starting to appreciate the difference to Betsy's interior, it's a foundation stone for what's to come...

Having removed the last remaining pieces of fibreglass holding the cabin sole in place, I was able to lift the molded fibreglass sole free of the bilges...

...and reveal the murky depths below, large ice cubes were tossed into the cockpit to slowly drain away, what remains is a sludge as old as Betsy's life, a bog of untold history!

Sunday, 20 January 2013

Frostbite Series

It's been bitterly cold, there's a couple of inches of snow on the decks and the small amount of water in the bilge is frozen solid!

I've had another little foray with the grinder and the vacuum cleaner, together we've removed the engine mounts, the ends of the quarter berth bunks, a small amount of bilge pump hose and quite a bit of old paint.

As can be seen, there is plenty more to do...

The prop shaft needs removing, the remains of the old tabbing where the beam used to be needs grinding away, the deck head is covered in a patchwork of glue and foam backing from the old headlining and there's plenty more old paint to be removed before any fibre glassing can be done.

Sunday, 13 January 2013


It was indeed the vacuum cleaner waiting for me at the delivery office, collecting it on Saturday on my way home from work, I intended putting it to good use right away.

I spent most of today wrapped up to protect myself from the fibreglass dust, the cheap and cheerful vacuum cleaner is far from quiet and that, combined with the angle grinder, necessitated ear plugs!

It's been a pleasantly productive day, part of the old engine mounts have been removed, a strip of fibreglass, where the old lockers and bunks were attached to the inside of the hull, has been chiseled off and ground smooth. The cabin sole is a molded fibreglass unit which was held in place with a strip of fibregalss tape, the tape has been chiseled off, only where it enters the engine area is it still attached.

And finally, the old mast support beam and small bulkheads from either end have been removed...

...after my experiences with Red Admiral I have decided on a replacement carbon fibre beam.

So now, no matter how much snow is forecast to fall, I have no excuse not to press on with Betsy's refit.

Thursday, 10 January 2013


There is a parcel waiting for me at the local Royal Mail delivery office, I have a feeling it is a cheap and cheerful wet and dry vacuum cleaner, the very thing I need for cleaning out the fibreglass dust after all that grinder activity.

In the meantime I had a socket set to buy, and an old Vire engine to pull out. A little later that same day, armed with my newly acquired socket set, I removed the three nuts holding the prop shaft to the gear box and out the old Vire slid! Roped up and heaved in to the cockpit I was able to lower the engine to the ground and shove it in the garage along with all the other bits of Betsy, I am beginning to suspect that there is more of her in there than sitting on the trailer?!

Once the prop shaft has been removed I'll be cutting out what's left with the grinder again.

Sunday, 6 January 2013

What Not Was

After the satisfaction of removing large pieces of Betsy, aided and abetted by power tools, during the New Year break it was time to knuckle down to some tedious tinkering...

The engine is still to be removed, the prop came off easily enough with two slugs of a hammer, the engine mounts required painfully slow spanner work being limited by space. The throttle and gear cables have been detached and pulled out, various lengths of old hose, clips and anything else generally getting in the way of things but the engine itself sits firmly attached to its prop shaft until I find myself a socket set, or at least that's what I think I need, it's difficult to tell really what with all the rust and confined dark space conspiring against me.

The bilge pump and some of its hose has been removed along with its skin fitting. Some of the exhaust system has been disassembled, the remainder stubbornly refuses to budge due to rusted fasteners and jubilee clips.

The wooden slats that formed the cockpit seats have been unscrewed and stripped from the deck, what remained of the head waste seacock was finally removed assisted by adjustable spanners, a hammer and a hacksaw!

It all amounts to a bin full of what not...

...but it's what not that was and is now no more!

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Cut It Out!

Yesterday was beautifully dry and sunny, the perfect start to a New Year!

Making the most of the occasion I set about refilling all the holes in the deck with fresh sealant, bailed and pumped the bilges dry and removed some of the more stubborn pieces of old plumbing, wiring and internal what-not. I then made a start on the old Vire engine, various bits of wire, connections and the alternator have been removed but there's plenty still to do.

It rained first thing today, the new sealant is holding up, for once the day hasn't begun with pumping the bilges. I then donned boiler suit, balaclava, dust mask and taped up my sleeves with parcel tape before finishing the job off with gloves and picking up the angle grinder!

I have removed the majority of the internal fibreglass structure of Betsy, she's surprisingly roomy, and I can now start planning the new interior layout for my own individual needs. Consideration will be given to the provision of watertight bulkheads and foam buoyancy, stowage and sleeping arrangements. I intend to rebuild with foam cored sandwich material for lightness, stiffness and added buoyancy.