Friday, 27 May 2016

School Boy Error

With the carbon mast base and organiser all prepped up ready to add the final layers of carbon cloth I set about laminating. The cloth wetted out, positioned and placed in to the vacuum bag, the whole lot cured under vacuum overnight...

...yesterday I cut open the vac bag to find softish resin?! Thinking it all through, replaying the process through my mind I had only added half the required amount of hardener to the epoxy resin! The result was a whole day spent scraping carbon and almost hard epoxy off the mast base with an old chisel and sanding away the remaining uncured resin before...

...doing it all again, only this time getting the mix right!

It has drizzled and rained for two and a half days solid but the forecast promises better weather for the weekend, I'd like to get the mast stepped and the rigging prepped so launch day runs smoothly.

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Roll On

Another round with the paint roller and the stowage compartments beneath the quarter berths are done...


Those two little blocks stuck to the inside of the hull are a pair of supports for the plywood bunk tops, there are two pairs either side.

The cabin sole has been tabbed in place with an infill at the forward edge, the infill needs a quick sand and then the whole lot can be painted, I'm looking for a grippy paint but would prefer not to have grit as it wrecks your waterproofs!


At the aft end you can see the black strum box on the end of the bilge pump hose and above that the battery box. I need to cut a lid for the inspection hatch...


The cockpit drains have been enlarged to 38mm internal diameter hose, as you can see they cross over one another...


...then feed down to the Forespar marelon seacock which runs straight out through the old prop shaft tube...


Now... before anyone complains about the use of only one Jubilee clip per hose tail, it took an excessive amount of force to fit each and every one of those hose tails, including immersion in boiled water and Fairy liquid!

Above all this sits the bilge pump, freed from it's plastic bag wrapper now the painting is done with...

And finally, having had just about enough of the smell of oil based paint within a confined space, the Lewmar deck hatch has been sealed and screwed in place...



As soon as the ArboMast sealant has rubberised I can trim off the excess and finally remove the tarpaulin that has been covering Betsy all these months.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Get Organised

Yesterday the cabin sole fillets had a thorough sand and then tabbed down with glass cloth and epoxy.

The rain stayed away all day today so the companionway had it's final coat of pale grey paint, I'll leave it a day or two before I fit the hatch.

The small wooden blocks shaped to support the bunk tops have been epoxied in place with fibre added for a good mechanical bond, and a small infill of plywood has been shaped, epoxy coated and epoxied in place at the forward edge of the cabin sole.

The carbon fibre has been released from it's vacuum bag and enamelled pie dish, trimmed and sanded to fit the mast base collar laminated months ago...


The two pieces were then suck together with thickened epoxy to include a fillet...


Once cured the fillet will get a sand until smooth and the whole lot laminated together with more carbon fibre.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

Fiddle

It has rained all day so what else to do but some fiddly bits and pieces.

The new navigation lights have been mounted on small rectangles of plywood coated in epoxy, each with a hole for the wires to pass through and potted in sealant.

A series of small hardwood blocks have been shaped to support the bunk tops where they meet the hull.

And, following a search around a local supermarket, the mould for the mast base and organiser has been found...


Eleven pieces of carbon cloth, alternating between biaxial and uni-directional, have been stacked on top of an old school enamel pie tin and then vacuumed to hold it all in place whilst the epoxy cured. A cardboard box and an electric fan heater were used to create a warm oven, now it's sitting on top of the hot water heater in the airing cupboard until the morning.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

Second Fix

The cabin sole has been epoxied in position, the fillets will need a sand and then I can tab it all in...


The navigation wires have been pulled through but I will need to find some suitable brackets to fit the new LED navigation lights to bow and stern.

The bulkhead has had a coat of varnish having masked off the white areas...


And the forepeak side too...


It's all starting to look very Starship Enterprise!

More paint is on its way so I can finish the companionway and get that hatch in.

Spot The Decorator

Another still, dry day and more painting.

A touch up here and there on either side of the bulkhead, a first coat of white paint on the cabin side of the stowage compartments and the bilge beneath the soon-to-be cabin sole has had a coat of Danboline...


Leaving all that to dry I have trimmed the cabin sole and ground off the gelcoat around its edge so it can be tabbed in place.

And finally, the bottom had it's final coat of antifoul, so we're all set to go!

Sunday, 15 May 2016

And They're Off...

Well, the Jester Challengers are anyway, fair winds and smooth seas to each and every one of them!

Meanwhile, the old stanchion base holes have had a spot of gelcoat added and the companionway has had a coat of light grey multicoat...


Of course, once you start painting things, everything else looks rather tired but I will have to draw the line somewhere, that said the cockpit seats have had a first coat too...


The interior of the companionway has had a second coat of white multicoat...


The exterior needs one more coat of light grey and then I can fit the deck hatch.
The battery box and the sides of the quarter berths have had a first coat...


I need to fit the cabin sole before I get too carried away with the paint, once that's down I can finish decorating and then it's electrics... simple?!

Friday, 13 May 2016

Friday The Thirteenth

Twas the night before the day before the making of a black bottomed Betsy...


Well, I had to get Friday the Thirteenth in there somewhere?!

Not as fair as she could be but a whole lot better than she was, that's for sure.

The exterior of the companionway has had a coat of primer, the interior a coat of white multicoat and the forward side of the bulkhead has had the same treatment as the cabin side, next the bulkhead needs a coat of varnish.

Thursday, 12 May 2016

First Fix

The new companionway has had a sand, I should really fill and fair to hide the fibreglass tape edges etc but time is marching on and I need to get cracking!

The Lewmar hatch was slotted in to position to check how well it fitted...


Quite what I would have done if it didn't I do not know but...


The frame of the hatch sits nice and square to the plywood surround, had I cut the hole 10mm lower down the hatch would have opened a little further without rubbing on the underside of the doghouse but now I'm being picky.

Yesterday, having finished the fibreglass work cut short by the rain, I masked up the bulkhead and began painting...


And for the rest of today I rescued the old cabin sole that was cut out with a grinder some years ago...


The aft end was cut off just before the apertures for the old engine mounts to give a clean line and the sides trimmed to fit the curved stowage compartments, then the whole lot given a thorough sand. There's a little more shaping and sanding to do and then I will be tabbing it down... so much for finishing the fibreglass work?!

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Rain Stopped Play

Yesterday the exterior of the new companionway had a sand, first with a profile sander and then by hand, cutting all the gelcoat off to bond direct to fibreglass. I measured up for all the tape I would need, exactly the way the interior was tabbed together, first a length of 75mm cloth followed by a length of 125mm on top, all 600gms biaxial glass cloth. Cutting the lengths of peel ply to go with it and then weighing each pair of cloth tapes to calculate a resin weight to wet it all out.

Today started well enough, warm, dry and soon the sun came out, I mixed some lightweight epoxy filler and increased the radius of the epoxy fillets. Pair by pair the glass tapes were wetted out, carried out to the boat and stuck in place, peel ply on top and rolled over with a consolidation roller.

I managed to lay up six out of the eleven pairs of glass tape before it began to spot with rain... oh well, I suppose the beautiful run of good weather had to end sometime.

Quickly pulling the tarpaulin over the companionway I retreated to the garage to fetch the extension lead and the electric fan heater. Plugged in, I pulled the tarpaulin down to the deck and left the epoxy to cure in its warm dry oven.

Taking advantage of the turn in the weather, I filled a bucket of water and began scrubbing the foredeck, the port lights had been trimmed of their excess Arbomast sealant at the weekend so they got a scrub too.

Then the epoxy underwater primer had a light sand with 600 grit wet and dry paper, just enough to clean off any lumps and bumps and provide a good key for the antifoul.

And finally the cockpit seats have had a sand and a wash down ready for painting.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Upstairs Downstairs

I did my best to avoid the inside of the boat today, the temperature inside rose to 30 degrees.

After a bit of a clear out and vacuum round downstairs, I went upstairs and drilled some holes. The genoa tracks and mainsheet traveller went down some weeks ago so today I fitted the new cars and end stops for all the tracks.

The stanchions, pulpit and pushpit were bolted down at the same time as the tracks, as you can see from the picture the stanchions immediately outboard from the genoa winches have been moved aft by 300mm or so to allow the winch handles to turn fully...


All the stanchion bases have been mounted on a 2mm tufnol base with 9mm plywood backing pads under the deck. The numerous old screw holes around the cockpit have been filled so there'll be some sanding and painting soon, along with a dab of pale grey gelcoat to cover up the old stanchion bolt holes.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

Tape Recording

It's been lovely and warm these past few days and the companionway hatch is coming along nicely...


The epoxy fillets have been increased with a wider radius shaped from the end of a wooden spatula. The last pieces of fibreglass tape went on today so that's it for the interior, no more fibreglassing to do... hurray!

I've been getting used to climbing in and out of the new hatch whilst doing all this work and although the new structure encroaches on an already small cabin space I feel satisfied that I have an altogether more seaworthy arrangement.

Apart from some interior decorating all that remains for the interior is wiring navigation lights and instruments.

The next task is to finish the exterior fibreglass work and then the new companionway will be completed with the fitting of the Lewmar deck hatch I tested all those months ago...


The Jester Azores Challenge starts a week on Sunday, so there's another Jester start I'll miss, oh well, why break the habit of a lifetime... better late than never!

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

A Hole In One

Cutting the turf off and digging a shallow hole under the stern and we have the rudder back on...


A bit agricultural looking but sturdy, back where it should be and one less job to do!

The lazarette hatch has been bolted back on to the deck with new fasteners and hardwood supports, the deck moulding has had a 9mm thick neoprene seal stuck on...


Now all I need is to decide how to hold it down securely?

The companionway has had it's base epoxied in place...


Followed by a lot of tiresome sanding, it's a constant round of make a mess, tidy up, make more mess... and so on. The interior of Betsy is in a terrible state but there's more sanding to be done yet!

Monday, 2 May 2016

A Good Companion

Quite how good it will be remains to be seen but for now it remains a work in progress...


Sticking the hatch frame in place was quite tricky or rather getting it to stay still whilst applying the epoxy fillets was. I thought I had it held in place and had actually finished filleting when suddenly one of the clamps fell off and the whole frame shifted anticlockwise by approx. 6mm. The air was a little cloudy for a while and my activity somewhat frantic but a new arrangement of shock cord did the trick and just enough movement in the now smudged epoxy to get the fillets back in place.

I managed to wriggle out of the boat without disturbing anything and now leaving well alone whilst the epoxy cures.

The hole for the bilge pump outlet has been enlarged and a skin fitting sikaflexed in place, the bilge pump hose fitted with two all stainless hose clamps and a hole drilled through the aft bulkhead for the hose to reach the bilge pump fitted under the companionway. The lazarette has been painted out, the foam has been cut to fit a watertight storage bottle and then lashed in place under a plywood lid.


Sunday, 1 May 2016

The Good, The Bad and The Downright Ugly

There is only so much you can do in the rain, I have spent most of this past week inside Betsy with the tarpaulin over the cabin and the fan heater on to keep the place warm, dry and epoxy friendly!

The bow fitting for the forestay was bolted on a couple of weeks ago, the watertight hatch sikaflexed and screwed in place on the forward bulkhead and the forepeak painted out...


This is without doubt a huge psychological victory and whenever there is any doubt in my mind I only have to glance in to the forepeak to remind myself how far we have come.


The old forehatch was a fibreglass moulding and unlikely to ever seal out the waves so I have fitted a Vetus hatch following some slight modifications to the deck moulding. Blocks of wood have been epoxied in place to give something for the hatch frame screws to bite in to and the new hatch bedded in sealant...


The battery box has been laminated in place...


That white panel above it is the forward end of the cockpit moulding and has a Whale Gusher Titan bilge pump attached to it, the plywood backing pad is the safety line attachment point. Underneath, wrapped in a plastic sack, are the cockpit drain hoses, all done whilst the weather was more conducive to drilling holes in a boat!

I have begun to build the new companionway hatch arrangement...


The side panels have been epoxied in position, the gaps between them and the original moulding have now been filled with foam, this will need to be shaped and filled over before fitting the new hatch surround.

It's all looking rather messy at the moment but with the bunks laminated in place and the bunk tops shaped to fit you at least get an idea of the new layout and the curved corner of the new stowage compartments...