Sunday 29 November 2015

Last coaming piece.

Today I put the very last coaming piece on the boat. Now that I think of it, it's also the last piece of plywood. All subsequent bits of wood (spars, rudder) will be solid.

The second layer of coaming progressed very slowly, as I needed lots and lots of clamps for each piece. While waiting for pieces to set up I shaped other areas of the coaming and made some mounts for my nice bronze row locks from Jarrah.

This was fun, as they're a complex shape (practically no 90 degree angles here) and necessitated lots of delicate plane work.

They're held down with two #10 x 50mm screws from under the deck, plus epoxy. When I put the rowlocks in, there's four #8 x 25mm screws through the coaming into these blocks, plus an additional #8 x 38mm screw from on-top. The rowlocks are thus very solidly located to the boat.

The angles are rounded out and bum friendly, and I've raised the rowlocks by about 8mm from our initial test with Perry pretending to row. I think the rowing ergonomics should be reasonably good. It's still a big (wide) boat to row, but I reckon I've done everything I can.

Doing the final shaping on the coaming is easy on top, as there's plenty of room to plane and my Stanley no. 4 and spokeshave work really well. Alas it's rather harder underneath, as there's not enough space between cockpit seats and coaming to get the no. 4 in. I very nearly pulled the pin on a low angle block plane, but figured for this job a simple piece of coarse emery on a wooden block will suffice. That leaves me a little more money for the enormous pile of blocks that I now have to buy.

Wednesday 25 November 2015

Coamings and thinking about rigging

I've been on holidays from work for three weeks, and it's been an incredibly productive time for me. After painting the interior I went straight to work on the coamings. Once the coamings are done I can paint them and paint the decks and timber-work, and the hull is then essentially complete, leaving a much shorter list of things that need to be finished before launch.

Here's the first piece of coaming being glued on. I started with the hardest bit, as I figured this was where I was likely to run into trouble. I used 4mm ply, and oriented it so that the central ply had its grain running along the boat. This made it much easier to bend, which was necessary because that's a really tight radius bend around the front of the cockpit.

After this piece, I just kept putting pieces on until the cockpit was filled in. Then I went around for another layer. The second layer needs many more clamps than the first, as the glue area is much larger. Here's an example piece going into place.

Now I'm starting to turn my attention to all the little detail bits. One of the questions that I'm mulling over at the moment is of how to attach my main sheet. The only other Navigator sloop that I've seen any detail of is Dauntless, which goes for a high-zoot factor traveller across the transom. Wayfarers generally opt for a bridle across the transom, and I'm leaning towards this arrangement, as is seems simple and straightforward.

So now the options of how to locate the ends of the bridle. The photo below shows some of the options I'm mulling:

The join in the ply that the eyes are sitting on has a 19mm square Tassie Oak stringer underneath it. At a minimum, I could simply put a pair of #8 by 25mm countersunk screws into this stringer to hold the smaller eye down. For something stronger, I could make a bronze plate up to go under the deck, and use #8 bolts, sandwiching the deck in a similar fashion to what I did with the chainplates. Or I could do the same with the larger four-bolt eye. I suspect the last option is incredible overkill. Indeed I'm suspecting all three options are overkill, but I've sailed on a boat (albeit a 26' one with a cabin-top mounted traveller) watching the traveller coming off the top of the cabin in gusts...

Thursday 19 November 2015

Finished painting the interior

I've had an absolute blast over the last few days, now that the last coat on the inside of Elena has set up, doing little bits and pieces and finishing bits on the inside off.

The paint is International "Toplac" single component polyurethane. I've got a really good relationship going with a paint supplier at the fishing wharf here in Geraldton, who happily added some tint to their "snow white" to make more of an off-white or ivory colour.

It looked very white when I was applying it, and I was starting to worry that I should have asked for more tint. Once I pulled out the actual white hatches to compare it to, I was really thrilled with the colour. I certainly wouldn't want it any darker.

Here's a photo showing a general overview of the front of the cockpit. The little bronze plate that's visible on the aft face of the front thwart is where I'll be putting an antenna connector for the VHF radio. Every corner that's visible here had a fillet of epoxy with filler, which took ages to get nice and smooth. The little hole at the base of the thwart is drainage for the front of the boat. The observant will note that the area inside the forward hatch is painted a different colour to the rest of the boat, and they'd be right. I painted this with aquacote, which is a water-based polyurethane that set up rather too quickly for my liking.

This detail shows the centreboard pivot, all nicely finished and capped off. Under here is an o-ring to keep the ocean out of the boat.

There are slots under where the coaming will go, to allow me to run a lead to my radio at the back of the cockpit, so I can use the radio without leaving the tiller. Also seen here are the spots under the cockpit seats for storage of gear that needs to stay dry. The little rings will eventually support a removable and adjustable rowing stretcher and raised platform for sleeping. I used Sikaflex 291 as bedding compound under the hatches.

Tuesday 17 November 2015

Thinking about a trailer.

I'm starting to get a bit more specific about what I want in a trailer. This is bad, because it means I'm up for buying something pretty expensive or else building one. I'm starting to favour building one, as the one quote for a half-way reasonable trailer I got from a mob down in Perth was an astonishing $3800. I guess they figured they'd try one on.

I'm rather liking the idea of a "break back" trailer. Additionally I could build a nice long draw-bar, and organise it so I could remove much of the front of the draw-bar when the boat is in the garage, minimising length (which is important, as my garage is only barely longer than Elena).

Here's a quick sketch of what I'm thinking of. Four bits of 65x35mm RHS, one bit of 65mm SHS, and the rest is bits from BCF or from the local car wreckers. There's a bit of welding involved, but It's about bloody time I bought myself a welder.

Saturday 14 November 2015

First topcoat on the interior

Finally finished with fillets. Here's the first coat of topcoat. It's International Toplac (there's a nice guy here in Geraldton who I buy the stuff from, who's wife's name is also Suzy), so this has become my paint of choice. He threw one unit of 127 tint (I think that's burnt sienna) in, to make it a really light off-white, as the standard Toplac white was really white).

If you look carefully at the first photo you can see I've routed channels in the supports for the coaming down the port side. These will be used to run cables from the front thwart, where the battery and radio will live, to the cockpit, where I'll have my handpiece. I'm thinking of going with a Icom IC-M400bb radio, which has the controls on the handpiece, so it should be nice and neat and unobtrusive.

I'll do another couple of coats, sanding in-between, and then put the coamings on.

Wednesday 11 November 2015

Fillets and undercoat on the interior.

I've made a real breakthrough with filleting. When I put the deck on, I used heaps of epoxy, as I didn't want voids. It was hard to get in to remove the squeezage, so I didn't. The result is really awful epoxy blobbage under the deck. I removed a lot of it with a heat gun and paint scraper, but it's really difficult to get to, and I'm working upside down with the hot air gun and scraper shoved into narrow spaces, which invariably hurts.

So, I figured I have the perfect tool for sculpting and just brute force removing material. It works nicely on aluminium cylinder heads, so there's no reason it won't work on soft epoxy. It's my die grinder. So in goes a solid carbide 12mm rounded die, and off I go.

It's just perfect. It eats epoxy, leaving a perfect radiused surface finish better than I could ever hope to get with sandpaper, and as a bonus it actually cuts epoxy better than wood, so once I'm down to the wood it loses it's bite.

So the interior painting process is one of applying a coat of undercoat, finding bits that are awful, going back to filler, cleaning that up with sandpaper and my die grinder, doing more undercoat, etc. At some point my OCD will finish and I'll apply the top coat.

Here's the first coat of undercoat. I know. it looks absolutely dreadful.