The Boat Project - April, May & June 2012

The Boat Project - April, May & June 2012

14th May 2012

Progress has been slow of late owing to several sideline projects all under way at the same time, however this weekend I managed to complete the installation of the final panel for the fuel compartment, along with all the bonders and glass work associated with this area.  Once this cures, a final sanding and I can paint this area out with grey Danboline.  Meanwhile, Naomi has been working on the cabin ceiling above the vee berth, sanding away the remains of the old contact adhesive which used to hold up cork tiles!  Yeuch...  One of the tools used in this area to good effect has been a blow torch.  Playing the flame over the glue carbonises it which prevents the sanding discs from gumming up so quickly.  It also serves to highlight areas that need more attention.  The overhead is looking good now.  I also managed to get a plywood backing pad installed for the port side backstay, which shall be overlaminated shortly.

Fuel compartment finalised and backstay backing pad Fuel compartment well laminated up Vee berth ceiling sanded out


17th May 2012

So some more progress in the hard to reach aft corners.  I got both aft corner backing pads in place, sanded up and acetone washed.  I also got backing pads in place for a future bow pulpit up in the vee berth,  I don't intend to have a bow pulpit at least initially, but I do want to have the infrastructure in place so I can quickly adopt one if I so desire.  Once the backing pads had cured I proceeded to overlaminate with epoxy and 450gsm biax tape.  All looking good now, and progress being made again which keeps me happy!

Starboard corner pad fitted Port corner pad fitted Pads fitted for the bow pulpit


22nd May 2012

So continuing with the under cockpit area, I started a job I have been dreading for some time - the repair of the hull to deck joint under the cockpit.  As usual, it was not as bad as I had thought it would be, and I gave myself some grief for putting it off for so long.  That will learn me!  On the port side I ground out the hull to deck joint, and where necessary, I installed some more hull to deck joint rivets and backing washers.  I then mixed up a load of polyester thickened with silica, micro balloons and talc.  After a good hovering and acetone washing of the hull to deck joint I proceeded to fill the void.  I managed to complete the port side filling, but ran out of polyester resin, so more is on order and I will carry on with this task through the week.


24th May 2012

With new resin and glass supplies in stock I proceeded to over laminate the port side hull to deck joint.  I used 2x 100mm wide strips of 600gsm biax in polyester resin.  I had to work extremely quickly to install the 2.5m of bonders as the temperature in the boat was over 25 degrees at the time, and I was catalysed at 2%.  Fortunately, things went well and the port side is completely bonded up now.  The starboard side will occur in the next few days.


14th June 2012

With a spare evening I got the port side of the hull to deck joint completed.  I managed to do this in one hit, filling the void with thickened polyester and overlaminating with the 2 strips of biax tape.  The joint has cured well and feels solid.  I was mentally comparing the feel of the boat now to a time when there was no bonding on the hull to deck joint, the keels were empty and the vee berth structure was not present, and the boat feels a thousand times stiffer now.  All good progress, and I will get some pictures up soon.  The next phase is to complete all minor laminations as required under the cockpit, sand the surfaces, solvent wash and paint with grey danboline as far forward as the cockpit locker bulkhead.  Once the bulkheads are in this will give me completion on another large swathe of interior... yippee!


22nd June 2012

With my wetsuit still in the washing machine I couldn't go kayaking this evening, so spent the time under the cockpit lockers making general preparations to paint the area out.  I generally sanded the entire area back to a paint cut off line just back from where the proposed new bulkhead would be installed.  I sanded the new hull to deck bonding, and added epoxy and biax patches to any small areas requiring a bit of extra material, such as backing pads, old fastener holes etc.  Also covered were holes I drilled when recovering the boat from Hastings.  Also covered were the bottoms of the lockers where there was some crumbling flowcoat.  I trowelled thickened epoxy into the voids and called it good in the boat as it was a miserable rainy night.  Still need to get some "before" pictures up before I paint!



25th June 2012

So at the moment I am just waiting for the latest epoxy work in the areas under the cockpit to cure before I paint the area out.  I started on the partition between the cockpit lockers and the main cabin, which I will have to template in three pieces to get things to fit right.  I managed to fit up the middle piece under the cockpit in one hit, filleting and bonding in one operation.  This worked well in this instance, and saved me an additional day.  As you can see, I have left 200mm between the existing under cockpit support bulkhead.  This is deliberate, and will allow the two sides of the cockpit lockers to drain in to one low point, where I will install an automatic bilge pump.  It also means I have plenty room to get the outboard into the starboard cockpit locker as needed.  You can see the hull to deck joints all bonded up here too, which has really stiffened the boat up in this area.  I also started a bit of work on the chain plates - see over in the Chainplate Project!

Cockpit lockers ready for paint & new bulkhead getting fitted Cockpit lockers ready for paint & new bulkhead getting fitted Cockpit lockers ready for paint & new bulkhead getting fitted



30th June 2012

Plenty progress today.  With good weather I got the tarp rolled back and the fore hatch open, allowing a bit of air and plenty natural light into the boat.  This restored my energy for the project somewhat, as lying back on the vee berth I looked up at a blue sky, catching a moments realisation of what the completed project might be like, anchored off a beach somewhere in the sun!  Day dreaming aside, plenty got done.  I water washed, sanded then solvent washed inside the lockers and fuel space.  It was such a warm day that the area dried off quickly and I got the whole area painted out with grey Danboline.  What a pleasure to see the raw fibreglass and repairs all covered and ready for the next step of installing the final partitions for the lockers.

Port locker painted out! Fuel locker painted out and holes drilled Fancy 316L stainless socket head bolts!

I also got the chain plate project progressed somewhat.  One whole side has now been bonded in and they await over laminating.  I also got the most forward one on the port side installed too.  I will get the last two chain plates bonded up very shortly, and over laminate everything in one hit.  Lots of other little jobs got done, namely the painting inside a vee berth locker that did not cure properly the first time.  Also some minor filling and fairing outside on the hull and deck was tackled.  The drain holes for the fuel locker got drilled out too.

Chain plates all bonded up! Chain plates all bonded up! Stbd cockpit locker looking real good!


3rd July 2012

Hmmm.... tough decisions....

In the progress of preparing the chain plates and mast beam for over laminating with the decorative "alufibre" cloth, I made up a test panel.  I was dissapointed with the results of this.  It totally lacked the sparkle and definition that I was hoping for, and I was not prepared to commit this to the mast beam and chain plates that have taken such time and effort to get ready for this stage.  So, I have a couple of options.

  • Over paint the mast beam along with the cabin liner - Boring but simple and quickly achievable
  • Develop a Carbon Fibre overlay - Tricky, but will look awesome with stainless bolts
  • Carpet over the chain plates when the hull liner is put in place - ok, but again slightly boring!

So what to do!  The carbon will obliterate the substrate, which is what the alufibre was not doing on the test panel... I reckon I am tending towards a nice fish weave carbon cloth.... hmmm!

Anyway, in other work I got the forward and aft chain plates on both sides over laminated with 600gsm biaxial cloth.  I also started working on the shape of the transition between the mast beam and the central chain plates ready for over laminating.  Naomi was also busy, building a template for the aft cockpit locker bulkheads.


4th July 2012

Boy was that ever the right decision!!!

In the end I decided to go back to the original plan, which was to overlay in carbon.  I chose a heavy 2x2 twill weave carbon cloth at 650gsm.  This thick, tightly woven fabric was completely void free and obliterated the white of the chain plates completely!  Even though it is a heavy fabric, the 2x2 twill easily conformed to the chain plates without bulging up.  I laminated with the new WEST 207 Special Coatings Hardener so that the laminate remains as clear as possible.  As I progressed, I got a tantalising glimpse of what the finished product would be like, and I have to say this was a great decision.  It looks fantastic.  Very pleased I am.  Did I tell you it went well?  Well it did!

Pics to come as I only just got in from the boat after laminating up the fore and aft chain plates on both sides.  Knackered, but it will be worth it in the end!


5th July 2012

Excellent progress in the boat.  The Chain plates got sanded and another coat of epoxy, and the new bulkhead got a coat of epoxy too.  Its clear to see how amazing the chain plates are going to look!  I will sand them back and re coat a few more times, then apply a clear coat.

Ooooh Carbon! Ooooh Carbon! New Bulkhead

I also ordered a pair of hatches to install in the cockpit locker bulkheads.  These are to be fitted for ventilation when the boat is stored and to allow the storage of long items in the cockpit lockers if necessary.

Cool view! Other side of cockpit locker bulkhead WEST 207 Special Coatings Hardener


6th July 2012

Thought I'd try video updates!  Here is a mini snapshot of the project at the moment, and i will have a go at doing some videos of me carrying out some laminating operations on the boat - maybe useful for those daunted by the thought of working with epoxy and composites.  Anyways, enjoy!


9th July 2012

I thought I would try creating a video of my typical method for fitting a bulkhead...  so I had a go on the new cockpit locker bulkhead over the weekend!


And some pictures to go with the day... I got a good bit of work done on the mast beam, sanding back the previous fillings and installing a layer of glass biaxial cloth.  I will do another glass layer over this one before filling, fairing and preparing for the carbon overlay... can't wait to see the effect, but not looking forward to the overhead laminating on this visually critical piece!  I also got another layer of epoxy on to the chain plates with the carbon overlay already in place.  I made a bit of a cock up on two of them.... at the base where the cloth went through 2 changes of direction it had formed a slight dome, and I slightly sanded through the carbon to reveal the underlying chain plate.  Not to worry, I will use a black car touch up paint and brush to make this slight reveal black again, then I will olver layer again with epoxy to restore the effect.  The smoothness is gradually improving on the 4 chain plates and I can't wait to see the completed effect.

In other works, the bulkhead for the port cockpit locker as per the video above, and Naomi managed to template for the starboard side.  In the next coming days this will get cut out and fitted.  Then its a week wait for the epoxy to fully cure, a water wash, sanding and solvent wash and the lockers can be taken to a final finish with a coat of grey Danboline.

Getting good on the chainplates Bulkhead now fitted on port side Templating for the starboard side



16th July 2012

So with some time this weekend I fitted and bonded the starboard side bulkhead for the cockpit locker.  Still to do is the locker side bonding, but the cabin side is complete.  It was nice to see the space in the cabin properly defined again, and I made plans to continue progressing the fitting of the remainder of the interior.  In other works, I got some more layers on the chain plates, and I used touch up on the exposed parts, which improved the situation.  In order to ensure a burn through wont expose the underlying mast beam, I have ordered some black epoxy pigment which will form the first layer on the new mast beam and main chain plates.  More work this week.



24th July 2012

So with the bonding for the cockpit locker bulkheads all complete on the cabin side, I decided it was time to get the cabin progressed.  I fitted a small partition in the storage space to allow a battery to be fitted between the cabin bulkhead and itself.  This will keep the battery low down and forward towards the centre of gravity of the boat, all good for getting the trim right.   I will install a hefty landing pad for the battery in due course.

So I proceeded to template for the new bulkhead.  This went quickly with the usual templating technique, and I cut out a panel from 12mm marine ply.  I got the panel tacked in place with hot melt glue, then fitted a topping piece from 22mm x 45mm meranti.  I chamfered the bottom edge to protect the future lockers contents, and to allow the edge to better hold paint.  I then fitted everything up with epoxy and silica fillets.  Then, owing to the clamps, I could only do the forward bonders.  As this is an aft of keel structural bulkhead, the bonders are quite extensive.  In the next days I will fit the aft side bonders too.

Templating for the new cabin bulkhead Oooooh... carbon! New bulkhead fitted up

So in other works, I got the 4 chainplates final wet sanded to 800grit, and then clear coated.  To say the effect is impressive is an understatement!  I must get on with the mast beam now...


29th July 2012

Awesome progress this weekend... prepare for a massive update!  So I managed to get the final laminates on the back side of the new cabin bulkhead in place, putting in a fairly hefty bonding scheme as this bulkhead will take a lot of the grounding, slinging and trailing loads to be expected in the boats lifetime.  Likewise, the bulkhead directly forward of this one which actually picks up the aft ends of the keels.  I am considering some storage units in the space next to the cockpit locker bulkheads... watch this space.

Final bonding on backside of new bulkhead Mast beam filled with pigmented epoxy Mast beam filled with pigmented epoxy

I got the mast beam final washed, sanded and solvent washed, then brushed black pigmented, thickened epoxy over the entire beam and chain plate.  This served 2 purposes, to fill and fair any final imperfections prior to over laminating with carbon, and to ensure a consistent colour behind the overlay in case I accidentally burn through while sanding.  In hindsight, I should have done this on the other 4 chain plates, but have realised that while you can see the little repairs under artificial light,  when the cover is off and the boat filled with natural light, the repairs are barely visible.  The black gave a tantalising glimpse of the finished article!

Carbon applied to chainplate and upright Final transverse bulkhead ready to fit Final transverse bonding up

Meanwhile, I got the next bulkhead quickly templated up, cut out and dry fitted.  I proceeded to fit this right away.  I noticed that these two bulkheads have been installed in record time, mainly as I know exactly what to do now, and with the hot melt glue holding the bulkhead firmly in place, there is no need to wait for the filleting to cure before over laminating, so a bulkhead can be installed completely in 3 hours.

Chainplate and upright carbonised! Bit more carbonisation Setting up divisions and hull support in place

The nest day I was able to do the carbon overlays on the chain plates and uprights on the mast beam.  This was somewhat hairy as expected... up hand laminating usually is.  The technique to success here was to paint the parts to be over laminated with epoxy, and totally wet out the pre cut piece of cloth before offering it into place.  This gave just about enough stick to keep the heavy cloth in place.  I then smoothed the cloth into place with my gloved hands and fingers, massaging it round the corners to ensure good lay down.  Then, once things were curing after about an hour, I used a very sharp scalpel and straight edge to trim the cloth on the cabin liner side of things to get the neat edge.

Setting up divisions and hull support in place Last holes in the boat filled! Final holes in the boat filled!

Meanwhile, I got the new bulkhead set up for further construction with some cleats to take the galley front panels, and cleats for the new sliding seat arrangement.  This sliding seat arrangement is a bit tricky to describe, and I might do a video of it as its a bit complicated... wait and see!  I also got the shelves on the hull side laminated in with expanding foam.  These look good, and will give the berth top something to land on.  A bit of a milestone was also reached with the final two holes in the hull getting filled and over laminated!!!  If the boat was to be floated now, she wouldn't sink!!!  So a fair bit of work this weekend, lets hope I can keep up the pace!



30th July 2012

Trying to keep the momentum of the project going, and with a final concept and end in sight for the interior, and a clear plan for achieving this, I forged ahead with some work in the cabin.  I got the internal areas of the new compartments between the two bulkheads sanded out and prepared for further partition installation, and I cleared up the new cleats with a light sanding.  Naomi prepared a mock up battery out of a cardboard box based on the dimensions of a typical 100ah leisure battery.  We used this to confirm or deny possible locations for the eventual positioning of the battery.

In other works, I saw no reason to delay the templating of the port side galley front panel.  Quickly I templated to the proposed dimensions for the galley panel, which on the port side is 550mm long.  This side of the galley will house a cool box which shall be well insulated and accessible from the top.  I selected a nice area of grain on a sheet of ply, marked out the template and cut with a hand saw for super accuracy. With some adjustments to the final shape in the boat with the belt sander the piece fitted particularly well at the edges.  I was pleased with the results of this.  Final fitting will be carried out in due course.

I also took a look at the eventual floor level, trying to cheat millimetres out of the available height.  The lower the eventual floor level, the better.  In any event, my floor level will be nearly a full 100mm below the original floor level in the Vivacity.  A good result from a headroom and liveability aspect.

So, no pictures, and no progress on the mast beam, but all in due course!



31st July 2012

Continuing today with the installation of the port galley panel.  I got the edges all protected and sanded up, then installed the panel in a bed of thickened epoxy.  Imanaged to get the corners very neat, and will not need to use trim in here, which was the look I was hoping for.  Just need to get the opposite side as good.  Ithen fitted the bonders on the back of the panel, and coated it with epoxy.  I was pleased with how this panel turned out, and am looking forward to completing this side of the boat so I can re configure my working area and do the other side.

Galley panel in play Galley panel bonders getting fitted Chain plates getting bolted up!

In other works, I completed the 4 chain plates that have been clear coated by drilling out the holes, clearing out the hot melt glue and opening up the base with the dremmel.  I then fitted the chain plates to ensure the fit remained accurate.  A little bit of playing around made all things ok, and they slipped in without drama.  I then installed the 316L stainless bolts and washers.  I was pleased with the result of this.  They are a real feature and will give the boat that "wow" factor!

 Interior concept starting to show itself

Now continuing into Q3 2012 - August 2012 Construction

Last Updated (Thursday, 02 August 2012 23:01)