The Boat Project - Jan, Feb & Mar 2013

1st January 2013

Happy New Year everyone!  Here starting a new page for construction activities...

Continuing from December 2012

The Boat Project Q1 2013 - The Schedule says complete the interior!

Ok, so the interior is progressing quickly now.  Over the past days I got the galley through hull installed, and I am just waiting for the epoxy to cure some more before painting the backing pad out with Danboline.  I also got some panels cut out and in first varnish, including the starboard side cupboard moulding in the overhead, and the shelf moulding cover in the forward part of the overhead moulding.  I also started the manufacture of a cabin sole.  I have opted for the "poor mans teak" effect with a routered ply panel.  I was amazed when this piece turned out extremely good!  I had a bit of a mental fight to get to this decision though, you see I had wanted to do something special for the sole, be that oak planks or teak, but that would be more effort and expense, where I could just build this now, and have a sole ready, and do something special at a later date.  

Floor offered in for a test fitRoutering up the channelsRoutering up the channels

The forward part of the overhead moulding was a tricky operation, taking an hour to template and then another hour to carefully cut out, belt sand to final shape, then router the 1/4 round profile.  I was pleased with the final outcome of this operation.  I had debated cutting out the middle part on the moulding and so on, but in the end I didn't, even though I thought it might be more practical without.  Sometimes you just have to build it!

Taping the fake planks!Taping the fake planks!Taping the fake planks!

I also got a couple of build coats of varnish laid down on several surfaces, progressing this ongoing task somewhat.  Of particular note, I made permanent cuts to the galley panels, deciding finally on a 45 degree chamfer to the exposed corners.  These will not be trimmed... I have come to like the plywood end grain.  I have managed to keep the cuts and edges so neat that the end grain seems to have become part of the asthetic plan!

Planks taped upBlack pigmented epoxy trowelled into the gapsThe reveal! Wow!

I also managed to plan the final berth top panel and the galley table infill, and got some electrical wiring routes cut out.  Progress progress progress!

Corners cut offCorners cut offForward Moulding panel in place

Some more pictures of various progress around the boat... Must get things sorted to the stage where I can paint the overhead!

Panel for electrics cut out and in first varnishMore varnish Galley through hull fitted

5th January 2013

Mess levels in the boat increasing temporarily recently, as I realise that I must get things ready to paint the overhead, which means dealing with something I have been putting of for a long time - the completion of the carbon overlay on the mast beam.  The delay is probably fairly understandable... Overhead laminating is a messy and miserable chore!  Especially considering that I am trying to achieve the best finish possible as a feature piece, my procrastination in favour of easier more visual progress is the result!  I have no excuses now, and so work on the mast beam has re started.  I sanded the existing laminations on the corners of the mast beam, and broke out the dremmel and cutting wheel to fine tune some corners. 

Floor panel offered in for a lookFloor panel offered in for a lookFirst coat of epoxy on

With a good hoovering and acetone wash I was ready to do battle with the final piece of carbon, which was a close fit length wise, but ok.  I wet out the landing area with epoxy using the West 207 special purpose hardener again, then wet out the piece of carbon on a sheet of polyethlyene. I then proceeded to fit the carbon in place.  It was a good fight for 5 mins to get things stuck in place.  I had a little trouble getting pieces at the corners to lay down owing to the stiffness of the cloth, but persisted and won.  Later, when the epoxy was going to green cure, I used a stanley knife with a fresh blade to trim the edges.  the excess pulled away with ease, making for considerably less sanding when cured.

First coat of varnish on - I prefer the colorLots of bits in varnishLast bit of carbon in place

After first stage cure, I sanded overall with 120grit, hoovered, solvent washed, and laid down another coat of epoxy.  This is the stage I am at now.  I will need to do a few of these before the finish gets good enough to put the clearcoat on.  That will be a good day!  In other works, I have epoxied the floor board using the special hardener, and now that it has had a chance to cure, I have put a coat of varnish on it.  This has improved the colour dramatically, and I am looking forward to seeing this fully cured.  

Last bit of carbon in placeLast bit of carbon in placeBuss bars for electrical first fix

Various other pieces in varnish and building, owing to the mess in the boat I have taken the parts into the garage to progress the build up.  Outdoor temperatures are not too low at the moment, so it should be ok.  Also, I have in stock now the buss bars for the 12v system first fix.  Also on its way is the solar charge controller, which will form the primary side of the 12v system.  Once this gets properly underway I will update the electrical project side of things.  Also well planned out at the moment is the 230v system.

6th January 2013

Another days progress, I got the mast beam sanded down and re coated.  Although I started early, I got the impression that the epoxy needed another couple of hours before it could be effectively sanded, so I left the heat on it and went to make a cover for the battery compartment along the same lines of the cabin sole.  I managed to get this part cut out, routered, and epoxied fairly quickly as I had done it before on the sole.

Panel for the step upPanel for the step upAnother coat of epoxy on the mast beam

Meanwhile, as I can't make much mess in the boat as the epoxy on the mast beam dries, I took a load of parts out to the garage to varnish.  After first cure in the cgarage over the evening, I moved some bits into the house for a couple of days cure at room temperatures for good measure, especially on the sole panel as I was worried about the varnish curing properly over the fresh epoxy coating.  It seems though that the West 207 Special Coatings Hardener is a little better than the 206 in this respect, and the varnish seems to be curing well. 

Another coat of epoxy on the mast beamLooking down onto the new stepSole doing well in varnish

10th January 2013

So a little progress on the overhead moulding recess locker doors... it seems that these little detail pieces have consumed some serious time... 

  • Plan and aquire hinges
  • Fit hinges with routering detail
  • Plan attachment to moulding
  • Get parts for attachment
  • Plan retaining catch
  • Fit retaining catch!

So it got done in the end.  I used a channel section of aluminium to clamp the doors to the moulding, and a blob of sikaflex to fit the upper retaining block.  careful attention to detail saw the hinges fitted with a pleasing routed detail, and I just need to do some final varnishing then they can be left aside until the overhead gets painted.  In other works, the solar charge controller arrived, and so I did some initial fitting up of hte electrical panel... exciting stuff!

Port locker door all set upInnardsLittle block and catch plate
Aluminium channel clamp allows some adjustmentElectrical panel startedTwo panels looking good!

13th January 2013

Good progress this weekend, I did a good bit of planning and parts prep for the fold up seat under the companionway, which is all ready to be glued up - something I will do later tonight when I get a minute.  This is a complex little area and has taken a bit f time to get to where I am happy with it.  It will be worth it though, as you can see from the pictures, this area converts to an athwartships berth that is quite honestly, massive.  I have seen smaller single berths on yachts 3 times as big as this!  The real benefit I see will be as a pilot berth.  If I ever start doing long passages, I can sleep near the companionway and navigation instruments, and have my head on the high side of the boat.  In the event of a gust or knock over, I will pretty much just end up standing on the hull at the low side.  

Mould tool for galley topFilleting with plasticeneGel coat applied

In other works, I couldn't resist getting one of the galley tops built.  I finally bit the bullet and went with my original instinct to build these in composite.  It makes more sense, and will be more durable and waterproof than a bit of plywood.  I made a mould out of contiboard and ply, and used plasticene and a fillet tool to develop a radius to the corner.  I only waxed once, but it was enough given the perfectly sealed surface of the contiboard.  Over the course of the evening, I used 600g of gelcoat, then 2.5 litres of polyester and chopped strand matt in three batches to build up a laminate.  In the morning, once this had had a good chance to fully cure, I dismantled the mould and was pleased to have no trouble at all de moulding the part.  I turned it over to reveal a surface more perfect than I had any right to expect!  A little trimming of the flash and I couldn't believe how good it was!  The right decision indeed.

De moulded and fitted in for a lookPlanned layoutPilot Berth layout

I did a little planning of the layout required on the new panel, although I don't have the stove to hand yet.  The stove will come later, as it is fairly expensive, and if I am to meet my launch deadline on budget, the stove will have to come later, but I do need to reserve the space for this part, so I made a template.  I also did a little planning of my infill/galley table/cockpit table multifunction panel!

27th January 2013

Phew! lots of progress... Like I have been saying, I have been procrastinating on some of the more challenging pieces... this week I broke the back of two of the big ones.  The mast beam got sanded back, having had enough coats of resin.  I started at 120 grit, and progressed through 240 dry, 240 wet, 400 wet and then 600 wet.  At this point, the mast beam was looking like it would be good to go to clear coat.  I got a coat on, and it was looking pretty spectacular.  There were one or two drips, so I have to get some 1200 grit, and wet sand again.  then I will build the clear coat to a finish.  At this point, a couple of scratches are visible in the surface, a product of the thin clear coating at this stage.  I am looking forward to taking this to a finish and getting the grey danboline painted up to the mast beam to complete the effect!

Ooooh! Carbon!Oooooh! Coolbox Liner!Oooooh! Coolbox Liner!

In other works, in a sustained build session through Saturday Naomi and I managed to get the mould for the cool box set up and laminated.  I used exactly the same mould making technique as previous, except I used much less hot melt glue, which made things a lot easier to de-mould.  Like before, I only had to wax one for a great release.  This time, I used white polyester gelcoat, and double gelled, even triple gelled on the corners to ensure adequate thickness and polishability at the end.  Once the gelcoat reached the correct tackiness over the next couple of hours we laminated 300gsm chopped strand to build the main laminate thickness.  We used polyester resin catalysed at 1% to allow adequate working time.  This worked well, and even though it was cold in the garage, we were able to build the required laminate thickness in one hit without exotherm.  The next day the product released very quickly and well, and I gave the surface a good wipe down with acetone, then a quick polish with Tcut.  This had the effect of really polishing the surface to a high gloss!  A try fit in the boat revealed the need for very little adjustment, but with the adjustments made the top surface lined up nice and flush with the underside of the future worktop as intended... all round win!

Oooooh! Carbon!!!Oooooh! Varnish!Oooooh! Varnish!

Lots more bits and pieces are getting worked up to final varnish...  sad as I am I spent £14 on a varnishing brush to see if it made any difference compared to the cheapie £5 for a box of 20 laminating brushes I have been using to date... needless to say it made an incredible difference!  For a start, I wasn't constantly fishing out bristles from the work, and it seemed to build thickness a whole lot easier!  I'm sold!

30th December 2013

Works ongoing these days, final coats on the mast beam.  For info I am using Rustoleum Polyurethane Clear Coating, readily available at B&Q in the UK.  The larger areas of the mast beam are proving very difficult to get a decent consistent coat on.  I have got it to the stage that I will live with it I think, as I can't have the mast beam ongoing forever!  Also in the works, more panels are getting worked up to final varnish.  I have to keep chipping away at this particular block as there is a lot to do and I have to sand down the stuff that has got a little damaged or some sticky stuff on it during construction, and get it back up to final thickness and gloss.  I am looking forward to seeing the results of this!

Ordered now is the paint for the overhead.  I am going to use the following schedule for the overhead:

  • Filled, sanded through to 240grit, hoovered and solvent washed
  • 1 coat International Prekote White 
  • 1 coat 50/50 International Prekote White and International Toplac in Snow White 001.
  • 2 coats 50/50 International Toplac in Snow White 001 with Matting Additive

So looking forward to seeing this progressed in the next few days.  Also ordered up are some electronics for the final fit up of the panel, and the mains electrical system is well planned too.  The Mains 230v electrical system will consist of the following:

Storage Area Stbd Aft

  • 1 x small Consumer Unit with 1 RCD and 2 MCBs, 1 16A for sockets, 1 6a for the rest
  • 2 x waterproof plug sockets
  • 3 x waterproof switches (1 for heaters, 1 for battery charger, 1 for light)
  • 1 x low power compact bulkhead light
  • 1 x 45cm tube heater, approx 80 watts

Forward in Vee Berth

  • 1 x 45cm tube heater in big locker (vented locker top to be made)
  • 1 x waterproof plug socket

Aft in Stbd Cockpit Locker

  • 1 x 25m Shore Cable inc. std. 16a outdoor connector
  • 1 x IP66 gland through to consumer unit
  • 1 x appropriate cable management 

In Battery Compartment

  • 1 x Dumbest battery charger I can find, at least 5a

This will all be installed with 16a blue 1.5mm2 arctic cable on adhesive cable mounts with zip ties.  Also IP66 waterproof glands are to be used all round.  Ideally, the ends of wires shall be soldered and tinned for corrosion protection where appropriate.  The switch for the battery charger is a smart move I think, as I might sail into a marina after a period of heavy battery use.  The 12v solar system will still be charging a bit, and as the light fades and I get onto shore power, I can then switch on the battery charger, which should stop the solar charge controller from delivering charge to the battery when it detects high voltage at the terminals.  The big charger will then bulk the battery up quickly through the night for use the next day.  

I also like the notion of using the tube heaters.  If the boat is kept at a marina, these will likely be left on during the colder months to ensure the air in the boat is kept moving and damp does not occur.  Also, if the boat is wintering in the driveway, I will be able to keep the boat well aired in this manner.  It will also be handy for drying out damp kit in the storage space aft, like in a marina after a wet day.

If there is a need for even more ad hoc heat while on shore power, a small fan heater will be kept on board and will run off the sockets.

Sounds like a plan, right?  I am no electrician though, and electrics are one of my notoriously weak skills... If anyone sees a potential disaster with this plan please do not hesitate to email me and let me know!

8th February 2013

So, no pictures, as the laptop that I use for all the pictures got dropped and has a cracked screen (replacement on its way!) however, progress in the boat is being made, mainly on getting up to final varnish on everything interior, and Danboline painted up and refreshed on key areas.  The varnish is starting to look really really good, so I am happy.

In other works, everything for the electrical panel arrived, and I got the panel assembled.  The following kit is on the main panel:

  • Standard Horizon GX1700E Combined DSC VHF and GPS set
  • NASA BM1 Battery monitor
  • 6 breaker Blueseas switch panel
  • 2 x Automatic Bilge Pump switches
  • 2 x 12v sockets
  • Main battery isolator switch
  • Catch for storing the VHF mike

Some pictures as soon as I get my laptop sorted!!

9th February 2013

New laptop screen fitted and we are back on the air!  Plenty progress lately, with the aforementioned electrical panel complete and awaiting fitting and wiring, and friday night saw the quick preparation and undercoating of the cabin liner!  What a spectacular difference even just in the undercoat!  As discussed previously, the first coat was 100% International prekote, which did a remarkably good job of obliterating the horrible grimy gelcoat.  Needless to say a bit of filling and fairing was required to make the area ready.  Later today I will start with the application of Toplac in Snow White.  I will go 50/50 with the Matting Additive to smash the gloss down a bit, as I have to admit, I really like the matt sheen of the undercoat and gloss would be a bit over powerful, especially considering all the gloss varnished surfaces below it.  anyways, pictures!!

12v Panel - trial fit12v Panel - Panel templated and cut out12v Panel - Complete and wrapped up for storage

The 12v panel was good fun, and will be a real feature.  I am glad I didn't try to do anything too fancy here with carbon etc as it simply does not need it.  Looking forward to fitting it up and getting it all wired in!

Cabin Liner - Before PreKote

Overhead liner - Perp work completeOverhead liner - Perp work completeOverhead liner - Perp work complete

So I progressed the undercoating of the overhead last night with 100% success.  Having masked everything off I sanded, solvent washed and tacked off, before letting things dry for a while, then with a foam roller applied the prekote.  I had to do a little filling and fairing here and there before starting, which I did with polyester so I could get a bit of a move on.  The paint went on beautifully leaving a slight bumpy texture which I quite like.  This would of course be sanded completely away for a hull or a properly gloss area, but here I quite like the texture, so I will not make any serious attempts to remove it when I sand for the top coats.

Cabin Liner - After PreKote!

Overhead liner - 2 coats of PrekoteOverhead liner - 2 coats of PrekoteOverhead liner - 2 coats of Prekote

Nice!  I will post more pictures after a coat or two of the Toplac with Matting Additive later tonight!

10th February 2013

So after a sanding with a flexible 280 grit pad, then 400 grit wet and dry paper, I wiped the surfaces down with a tack rag and re applied some protective sheeting to ensure no dust made it into the final coats.  The first coat of Toplac went on a treat with a foam roller, thinned with thinners no.1 and 50% matting additive.  The results were outrageous, even for a first coat!  I was very pleased with the results of the first coat.  There were a couple of flaws of corse, such as one or two areas I could have been more careful about the dust, and a minor sag or two.  I quickly learned that the secret to success is to keep the paint thin enough that the roller does not drag, and not to build up too thick a coat.  I left things for a day, repeated the sanding at 280 then 400 and re masked in places.  after a thorough tacking off I applied the second coat for a spectacular result.  

Overhead liner - 2 coats of Toplac with Matting Additive - 50%Overhead liner - 2 coats of Toplac with Matting Additive - 50%Overhead liner - 2 coats of Toplac with Matting Additive - 50%

I was extremely glad I used the matting additive.  From 2 feet away, I can't tell if the surface is paint or gel coat.  Again, one or two very very minor flaws, but definitely not enough to warrant a third coat.  All that is left to do now is cut in the edges around the carbon mast beam and this job is complete in all respects!

Overhead liner - 2 coats of Toplac with Matting Additive - 50%Overhead liner - 2 coats of Toplac with Matting Additive - 50%Overhead liner - 2 coats of Toplac with Matting Additive - 50%

16th February 2013

Plenty progress lately, I have edged in the white, and neatened up a few corners.  Lots of bits and pieces arriving too and these are finding their way on board.  The overhead liner completion marked a milestone in the project whereby major dust and mess production has stopped and the fitting up of the final pieces has started.  On Friday night I got the bilge painted out in Danboline.  This had a dramatic effect, covering the last of the raw fibreglass in the boat.  I installed the new Whale Supersub 650 auto bilge pump in an appropriate place, and re fitted the floor.

Lights set up along the back of the railsNeatly wired, soldered and heatshrunkRails fitted up

I got the lights fitted up behind the long rail trims for the under lighting I have planned.  This went well.  I ordered the following from

  • 8 x Warm White 3 LED fixtures, SL03-12-WW 
  • 2 x Red 3 LED Fixtures, SL03-12-R

I used self adhesive cable tie attachments, small cable ties, heat shrink and solder to make up the backs of the rails.  I was pleased with how these panels turne out, and looked forward to testing them!

Lights on!Lights on!Lights on!

Looking good! It seems like not a lot of light, but in complete darkness it provides enough light to do plenty in the cabin.  I managed to get a current reading from the lights, and can report the following:

  • 8 x Warm White Only - 0.17 amps draw, 2 watts 
  • 8 x Warm White and 2 x Red - 0.25 amps draw, 3 watts

Pretty good I think!  I have on order a surprise from China... I want these lights to go on and off with a remote control, like a car key ring fob.  Mainly so I don't have to get out of my sleeping bag to turn the lights off at night! (and also just because it will be cool...)

Lights on!Bilge painted out and pump in placeBilge painted out

In other works, I got the counter top for the starboard galley cut out for the sink and the pump.  This went well.  I decided that I would have this panel screwed down at the corners, and then run a bead of sealant around to seal.  I would not apply sealant to the landing surfaces, as I want to be able to remove this panel easily in the future.  The screws in the corners also served to improve a little curvature in the panel.  I have a tube of Sikaflex 291i on order for the sealing.  

Final paint under the galleyPump and sink in placePump and sink in place - hose routing

So plenty progress!! I am well on track for completing the bulk of the interior before the beginning of March.  Then it will be off to the paint sheds for the exterior works!

20th February 2013

Progress progress.... I have been doing some more wiring up of the electrical panel, getting the BM1 shunt in place on the board and initial wiring in place, the VHF has been half wired in, and some other bits and pieces, such as one of the switched LED lights for the forward berth area.  I am soldering and heat shrinking all of my connections, even to the extent of crimping my terminals, then soldering them!  Why not.. I have the time to make it right now.  

In other bits and pieces, one night I quickly templated and developed a mould for the port galley top on top of the cool box.  This went very well, and we are a step closer to completing that side of the cabin.  Last night, I removed the cool box and developed a mould for the lid, which also went well, although I still have to crack that one out of its tool.  To develop the dol, I covered the top 100mm of the coolbox moulding with masking tape to build an offset, then parcel tape to provide a release.  Then I cut out and supported a platform 100mm below the edge of the coolbox top.  This was also covered with parcel tape.  Then I filleted with plasticene around the edges.  

A heavy gel coat and then glassing quickly took place, but I still have to apply the expanding foam as the moulding is fairly lightweight and will need a bit more rigidity if I am not to destroy it on release!

Planned for later, the release, and hopefully if all goes well, the fit up of the galley top and cool box!

23rd February 2013

Bit of a fail with the cool box top!  Firstly, the Davids resin from Halfords did not cure!  Never again shall I use this crap in anything I ever do... lol!  What a mess removing this from the mould.  Anyway, I quickly regrouped, and planned an alternative lid.  Knowing also that the coolbox mould was not giving a good release angle for the lid part, I knew I couldn't use the same method again, so instead proposed a plug of polyurethane foam, overcoated with epoxy and biax, with a white pigment in the resin.  Yes it wouldn't be a female moulded part, but needs must!  I prepared the mould again for the expanding polyurethane 2 pack foam, built a plywood scaffold in the mould so I can attach it to the future lid, and poured away.  I eventually managed to release this part, although with some difficulty.  Who would have thought 2 pack expanding foam would chemically bond with the well waxed mould release tape!!  Anyway, this part is now sanded and ready to be built into a new lid.  With the plug available, the cool box could be permanently installed in the boat to keep things progressing.  

Cool box all fitted up and sealedGalley and sink all bonded in!Electrical wiring underway... gulp!

I installed the cool box in the insulated recess, using shims and packers where required to get the top flange where it needed to be.  After a dry fit and screwing of the top I installed everything with Sikaflex 291i adhesive and sealant.  This made for a very nice finish, and I was pleased.  I repeated the process with the opposite side, installing with screws and sealing the edges.  The sink also got bonded in with the 291i.  I need to get some screws to secure the pump still.  

In other works, a large order for electrical connectors and tinned marine wire arrived, and I wasted no time getting under way with the wiring.  This is something I am having to learn a lot about as I go, so I will do a better description of the system once it is largely fitted up and not as messy as it is just now.  Looking forward to the day I can turn the main breaker and it all works! 

7th March 2013

So a bit of a gap in proceedings again as I got sent off to Holland for a couple of days, but in the interspersion I managed to get plenty done.  I finalised as far as I could the wiring of the interior of the boat.  The remainder of the electrics that feed in to the panel will be from exterior appliances such as navigation lights, instruments etc.  I need to wait for the exterior project to run to completion before I think about that stuff, so I largely closed up the installation for now.  I got the bilge pump fitted and wired in too.  I will get a picture of that later as everything is now in the final coat of varnish and I didn't want to disturb the floor near the freshly applied bits.

Wiring more or less complete - interior itemsWiring more or less complete - PanelWiring more or less complete - Board

As you can see, the wiring runs have been kept neat and well organised, and I have soldered, heat shrunk and crimped the vast majority of my connections.  Geeky or what!  Anyway, in years to come when the installation is still in tip top shape and having provided years of reliable service, I will be smug!

Key fob switches the underlighting - red for red, grey for white!Rig for Red!Plenty light

You can see the total sum of all the lights on and the available light in the cabin.  I thought it was not a lot at first, but there is actually ample light to do everything in the key task areas.  still, there is options for a bit of extra supplementary lighting if needed.  With all the lights on, consumption is a mere half an amp. (500mA)  Using any 1 light consumption is only 100mA to 200mA.  When the lights are all on and the VHF is on stand by and I am charging my handheld VHF, consumption is 1 amp.  Pretty frugal, considering 4 x 10 watt incandecent navigation lights (port, stbd, steaming and stern) would consume about 3.5 amps!

Lights in the vee berthunderlighting onYup, looking good!

Moving on to the next phase of the project!

see the April 2013 logs!

Last Updated (Sunday, 28 April 2013 23:14)