Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Custom Stowage

I've never really liked hard corners in the cabin of a boat, the thought of being thrown against one, alone at sea, is not pleasant.

I decided some time ago to mould the interior of Betsy to the watertight stowage containers.

Whilst the 9mm foam core has some flex, enough to make the doghouse match the original deck, there was not enough 'give' to make it form to the containers. I cut the foam at 1cm intervals along it's length to approx. 2/3 rds it's depth, this gave it enough flex to conform to the new shape. Mixing up some epoxy and filler, I filled the grooves and...

...stacking three of the containers on end, wrapped them in cardboard, plastic, peel ply, foam core, peel ply and held the whole lot together with 50mm parcel tape until cured.

I will cut the curved foam lengthways to give me 2, 90 degree corners.

I'm pretty pleased with the result so far, obviously this only takes care of the corners of the stowage compartments, the remainder will consist of flat panels and the whole lot fibreglassed together.

Meanwhile the doghouse is out of the bag and had some sanding before I continue laminating it all together on the underside.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Back In The Bag

Having attached a piece of laminate to the front of the dog house and shaped all the hard corners, soft and round, it all went back in the bag...

...all the joints have been covered in biaxial cloth and once cured, it will be given the same treatment on the underside.

Friday, 9 May 2014

The Great Escape

The doghouse has taken shape, endless trips back and forth to the garage, where I can sand the foam and fibreglass to my heart's content...

...I have now glued the various pieces together with a thickened epoxy and that's about it for now.

I will have to sand, fillet and fibreglass the whole thing together but that will have to wait until next week.

It's the start of the Jester Challenge 2014 on Sunday the 11th and I'll be there for the weekend and out on the water for the start to see them all off!

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Hatching A Plan

Using the old sliding hatch once again, I laminated the two top panels for the new doghouse together.

Fortunately this time there were no vacuum problems and the warm sunny day assisted the curing process.

Whilst it was curing, I screwed the new hatch to a length of timber and simulated the new companionway to check the cardboard mock-up of the new doghouse for size and fit.

So far so good!

Soon I will be able to start fitting the pieces of laminated foam core together, making all those curved edges fit neatly together will be the challenge but hopefully the result will be rewarding.

Saturday, 3 May 2014

Chasing Leaks

Betsy has a sliding hatch and a perspex washboard, neither of which I fancy in a gale of wind and or a breaking wave!

Red Admiral had a one piece hatch that could be locked in place with Lewmar hatch handles, continuing this theme I intend to make Betsy considerably more watertight.

I have acquired a Lewmar 60 hatch and intend fitting it at a 45 degree angle with a rigid doghouse built over the top, in place of the sliding hatch.

I made a cardboard mock up to check the size and ergonomics of such a construction, happy with my plans I have begun to fabricate the wedge shaped doghouse using the curve of the original hatch as a mould to increase the strength and keep the doghouse in keeping with the existing coachroof... at least that's the idea?!

The G-PET foam core is 9mm thick and has enough flex to form to the shape of the curved hatch, providing of course that there is sufficient vacuum to hold it down... which today, sadly, there was not!

Having laid up the glass, foam core and bagged it all up on top of the old hatch... could I for the life of me chase down the leak that conspired to thwart my designs... no!

As a last resort I pinned it down with 50mm wide cellotape whilst taping up an outer bag to encapsulate the lot.

Fortunately when I switched on the pump and pulled down the vacuum the whole lot clamped down bar tight... phew!

Friday, 2 May 2014

Seeing Red

When I first viewed Betsy, that cold, grey, winter's day down on the Norfolk Broad, I spied a chip in her paintwork... a little glimpse of red showing through.

Back home, sitting on her trailer, I could see the full extent of the patched up paintwork. At sometime in her life I believe she's had a reasonably good spray job but since then overpainted by brush, brush strokes and all!

I have spent the best part of this week finishing off what I started months ago, the improved weather, lighter nights and some time away from work have all combined to return Betsy to her original gelcoat...

...there's plenty still to do but one thing's for sure, Betsy will be nowhere near Plymouth for the start of this year's Jester Challenge.

But then... there's always next year?!