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2011 September

2011/09/03 - Summer is having one last hurrah in our part of the country so I'm taking advantage of the warm weather to do as much epoxy work as possible today.

An extra pair of deck cleats were positioned for the foredeck and holes were marked and drilled out. An extra large hole was made so that there would be a load-bearing area along with some sealant for the deck core to prevent water intrusion.

Thickened epoxy was then poured into all of the remaining deck holes for cleats, stanchions, rails, and other hardware bolted there. Again, the nice weather (mid-80's) made for a good day to work with epoxy.

Last week I spent some time leveling the boat. This week I set up some strings to mark the water line so that accurate measurements could be taken for positioning the new windvane. Strings were "eyeballed" to the water line and then checked with a level. Turns out that eyeballing is pretty accurate. A plumb line was then set up just starboard of the center line of the boat in order to get measurements of the slope of the transom.

The stern tube of the wind vane needs to be at least 16 inches above the water line in order to minimize drag on the steering oar. The more significant constraint, it turns out, is that the stern tube needs to be positioned to allow the quadrant to rotate a full 360 degrees inside of the lazarette.

Measurements were taken inside and outside the hull to determine the position of the stern tube. To help determine the position of the hole, a disc of cardboard was cut to show the sweep of the quadrant on its axis.

Using this information, an estimate was made for the position of the hole and a 1/8" pilot was drilled. The disc was positioned and then the hole was enlarged to 1/4" so that a rod could be inserted with the actual quadrant at its end. This resulted in discovering that there was some interference at the bottom of the quadrant's arc, so the hole was moved upwards an inch and the process was repeated. Again there was some interference so the hole was moved up another half an inch. This time, everything fit well with swing room for the quadrant. Note the high-tech leveling jig for the drill.

The stern tube was dry-fit and everything looked good. The next step is to put the stern pulpit back in place to verify whether or not it projects past the stern gunwale. This is necessary to determine how far the stern tube should prenetrate through the transom. Unfortunately, daylight was waning at this point so the job will have to wait until tomorrow.

2011/09/04 - Worked with the wind vane some more today. Temporarily bolted the stern rail back onto the boat so that I could check for possible interference between the rail and the vane mast and steering oar. Also wanted to verify that the vane quadrant could swing completely around to allow for storage of the steering oar by lashing it to the vane mast. Spent most of the afternoon lining things up and marking them for trimming and adjustments.

The support/stabilization struts for the stern tube are proving to be a challenge to position and fit, but I think I finally have it set. My preference is to tie them to the underside of the deck so they don't act as "catch-alls" in the bottom of the lazarette. The vertical supports for the vane mast pose a different challenge, as there is the possibility of an interference problem with the stern rail. The dry fitting also suggests that the stern light may have to be relocated for better visibility.

Weather forecast for the next few days is not encouraging. Some work may have to wait. Again!

2011/09/05 - The rains started last night, continued all day long, and are still coming down late tonight. The runoff from the tarp over the boat got into one of the deck openings, so that will have to dry off before the core can be put into place there and the deck skin put back on.

The deck skin on the starboard bow was epoxied back into place this afternoon. Hopefully it won't get too cold tonight to prevent the epoxy from fully curing.

Because it wasn't much of a day to work outdoors, a small section of the main saloon received its coating of veneer. Based on the experience today, some additional moulding may have to be installed in strategic places to help cover up small trimming errors and to help keep the edges from catching on things and getting pulled up.

Also spent some time trimming the supports for the wind vane stern tube and finding a piece of wood that can be used as a block on the underside of the deck to hold the mounting screws for the struts. More photos to come. Stay tuned.

2011/09/10 - Much nicer weather this weekend than last. The sun is shining, the humidity is down and the temperature is in the mid-70's. Couldn't ask for better!

Started the day by glassing down two blocks to the underside of the aft deck so the wind vane's stern tube brackets would have a place to be mounted. This went fairly smoothly, except I discoverd that when I had the stern tube in place, one of the struts blocked the path my head had to take during the contortions required for me to exit the locker. I have a feeling this will make final installation a bit more interesting than I had anticipated!

In order to do a good job at painting the deck, the portlights will have to come out so we can paint behind the frames. Since at least one of them is leaking, it won't be a wasted effort.

In the main saloon, the first step is to remove the eight screws that hold the frames together. Keep track of which screw comes from which hole, as the screws may be different lengths!

Since I've had these portlights apart a couple of times, I know how they were installed and that there is lots of bedding compound holding things together. Be careful prying things apart so that the casting doesn't break or bend. That would be bad!

With the inner frame off, there is nothing holding the portlight in except for the bedding compound. Using a wide putty knife, start working out the frame a bit at a time. Again, care must be taken not to bend or crack the frame.

Once the bead on the portlight has been broken, it can be gently pulled from the hole in the deck house. The next step is to clean off the bedding compound from the frame and plexiglass. For reference, the plexiglass is 3/8-inches thick.

Finally, the hole for the portlight can be cleaned up as well so that there will be some clean surface for the new bedding compound to stick to.

Also done today was coring on the last remaining hole in the deck. This shot shows the coring in place as the epoxy is curing. I had given some thought of putting down the skin at the same time, but there are a few spots that I think will need to be ground "level" before doing so, however.

Sanding of the deck started today in preparation of the paint job it desparately needs. Fortunately the existing non-skid is relatively soft and sands off easily.

As the day wound down, some more veneer work was done below. Today work moved to the port side of the companionway ladder. The ladder support was removed and veneered. While the support was out, the galley area was cleared of hardware and the stove (and its brackets and heat shields) was removed. The moulding along the floor needs to be removed, the laminate sanded, and then the veneering can begin.

Another lingering project is the replacement of the galley faucet. If time permits, this will be a good opportunity to remove the sink so as to access the faucet and its associated plumbing.

2011/09/11 - Had some help today from crew members Jon and Jim with some of the chores that take more than one pair of hands. Together we mounted and aligned the stern tube for the wind vane of the Cape Horn steering unit. Later in the afternoon, the tube was glassed into place and left to cure. There's no going back now!

Jim and Jon made good progress removing the last of the deck fittings and portlights in preparation for the deck painting. Unfortunatley, we had intermittent thunderstorms all afternoon, so a few key places on the deck never dried out enough to allow for the last of the fiberglassing and seam taping. That will have to be done another day.

This evening I tried to make some more progress with the veneer work below decks. Unfortunately, the humidity from the day's rains played havoc with the veneer and I had all kinds of problems with the veneer curling and lifting off. Even some of the veneer glued down last week was starting to swell and bubble. Chalk this up to a learning experience. Time will tell if I have to do today's veneer work over again. Keep your fingers crossed!

2011/09/24 - The weather has moderated (slightly) and we actually saw some sun by late afternoon. Regardless, some progress was made. A noteable area of progress is in the number of mosquitos that have been spawned by the recent wet weather. Boat work has now become a true blood sport (sharp tools not withstanding)!

The day started out at the Elmira Hamfest where I picked up a few parts to use on the boat's electrical system. This included some terminal strips and antenna connectors. A new pair of work gloves also found their way into my posession since they were only $1.

Once I got back home, work began on deck with various sanders - electric and pneumatic. The foredeck was sanded down some more in preparation for painting. The gunwales were also sanded down the foreward third of the starboard side. The grinder was also employed to feather back the edges of the patch in the foredeck. Some fairing will still be required around the edges, but then we'll be ready for the painting to begin.

The hole in the port side deck was also finally dry enough to skin over, so this was completed today after some high spots in the deck core were ground down to allow the deck to lay flat on it. Epoxy was mixed up and the skin was bedded down and held in place with a pair of 40 pound bags of water softener salt.

A small bit of the epoxy that was left over was used to clean up the bead around the exit hole of the Cape Horn wind vane. When we're all done, a bead of silicone will dress up the hole and provide some protection against the sun and weather.

Inside the main saloon, the current status of the veneering operations was reviewed. A couple of the pieces had bubbled up off of the formica base and will have to be addressed, but in general things are looking good. You can see what the first coat of varnish has done on the cabinetry to the left. Still lots of work to do here, and this will likely extend into next year.

2011/09/25 - Another beautiful day, weather wise, but pretty dusty and dirty as far as the boat work goes.

With the stern tube of the wind vane glassed in place and secured, the mechanical workings were installed and the quadrant was bolted into place.

With the warm temperatures, I tried to focus mostly on those tasks requiring some warmth. Seams around the areas of the deck that had been removed were faired with thickened epoxy today. The piles of dust and debris were also vacuumed from the deck to make this work a little easier and to minimize the dirt that was getting tracked around.

More sections of the gunwale on the starboard side were sanded, as was the gunwale around the stern. The wood is beginning to look nice, but still needs some more attention before sealing and varnishing.

The aft deck was sanded and "smoothed" using all of the electric and pneumatic tools I had available. In the end, the disc grinder with a piece of "dull" 24-grit paper on the wheel worked the best at leveling the deck and preparing it for fairing.

Once all of the deck areas were faired with epoxy, more woodwork was the order of the day as the boards forming the cockpit coaming started to receive their bit of attention. About half of the inside port coaming board was sanded down to raw wood. Some of the old varnish is proving to be problematic, so I was again resorting to the use of the grinder with its dull paper to remove the material without asking a lot of questions.

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