Archive for February 2022

I have been apprehensive about cutting the 125 mm wide by 6 mm deep keel floor laminations and fitting them to the hull because of the dimensions. The longest laminates are over three metres and curve around the hull from the upper tangent on one side to the upper tangent on the opposite side. Because of my concerns I decided to tackle this first and discover the issues along the way..
The saw cutting went quite well cutting 70 mm deep into the 125 mm wide plank and turning the plank over and doing a second cut. The roughly 8 mm planks were then thicknessed down to 6 mm.
The day’s task was going slowly with the old saw bench occasionally going out on overload until the motor died. That called for a quick trip to the tool store and an hour later I was home assembling a new more powerful unit.
Taking up from where I left off the cutting proceeded much faster and with greater accuracy.

Cutting 6 mm by 125 mm planks before the saw bench died

Late in the day Elaine and I spent hours cleaning up the sawdust and shavings but had enough planks cut for the first large floor and a bit to spare.
That had been a big day sorting and restacking my lumber supplies, cutting the timber and cleaning up so Wednesday was a quieter day glassing one side of a plywood splice and doing a tiny fillet but somehow I was satisfied with that as we had an early finish to leave for our Wednesday twilight race.
Last week had been a sailing disaster as on leaving our mooring the raw water pump on the engine seized and we could not compete.
In one moment we went from leading the series to runner up as there was no drop available.
The pump failure was disappointing on two fronts. Firstly the shaft seal on the pump failed after five years and secondly that I did not replace the bearings when I changed the seal.
The remedy was simple. Buy a new pump on the way to the Laser Masters Regatta at Port Stephens and then after a grueling weekend sailing in over 25 knots rise early Monday morning and change the pump.
Monday was a pretty miserable day with lots of showers but the swap was achieved in the morning and the engine run for an hour to be sure.
On return home it was still raining so I overhauled the failed pump to ensure I had a spare on board. It is not practical to change bearings at sea so a spare pump seems to be a must for any serious ocean sailing. The bearings in the raw water pump had failed spectacularly. The ball cages were mangled, balls were missing and the seals had failed. It does raise the question as to how we had not heard the progressive failure so perhaps the sound insulation in the motor compartment is too good.
This Wednesday was much more satisfying as we had ideal twilight racing conditions and courtesy of a generous handicap scored a third place and maintained our lead in the series. All the crew stayed for the post race BBQ in the best conditions so far this season and we scored a bottle of wine.

Utopia won from Fireball but it was close at the front on handicap. We had a good start but were run over in Humbug by Ausreo and Fireball while Sweet Chariot did a bolter to leeward and deserved a better result on the night as it took us a third of the race to catch them. We made up a bot of ground on the free leg from Goat Island back to Cockatoo and for a few moments had Joli in view but once around the island she was off and away. Meridian also pulled away on this leg as we did not enjoy sailing in her dirty air.

Thursday became D day for starting the keel floors and thanks to some prompt work by Dudley Dix we resolved all the angles and settled on a procedure for laminating the 13 layers of 6 mm timber to form these massive keel floors. As of this evening the first 5 layers are glued up inside the hull and the epoxy has cured hard in the 30 degrees Celsius weather. Tomorrow the aim is to clean up the first lamination and do a second batch of four layers each 3.1 metres long.

Trial fit of first 6 mm layer of the keel floor
Another trial floor, this time all the short lengths

In the meantime the chainplate frames have been installed and glued to the stringers. The 36 mm wide frames are held rigidly by glue on the stringers and have already been planed down ready to affix the external plywood skin.

Massive chainplate frame waiting for structure to be built around it.

Everything has to be done sometime so I have a long list of small tasks to complete as well as big ones but I would like to get these 3.1 metre keel floors finished as this opens up my choices of tasks depending on the conditions.

I am running a list of possible construction tasks from which to pick as the conditions dictate. The list does have sequences where some tasks have to be finished before the next one for ease of construction. For example to fit the base of the anchor locker at the bow I left one of the side stringers loose until the base was installed. Due to the triangular shape of the base and the stringers that run mid way through the length of the base it would be impossible to make a neat fit. Even with the loose stringer it was still tricky and I should have left the stringer doubler off the bulkhead as that 9 mm was critical. Being such small item it was easy enough to notch the base to get it to fit but it would have been neater and not required the small infill piece.

Before installing the base I filleted the bulkhead to the skin while I could stand on the ground. On the second side I will have to crawl into the locker under the anchor locker to do the filleting so I am on the lookout for tasks that are easier to do early rather than late.

The anchor locker base after installation. You can see how the stringer passes through the base. Also show are the two 22mm by 35mm stringers to stiffen the base and on the bow is a third layer of 12 mm ply to increase the gluing surface for the side sheets. the capping timber will be 12 mm thinner as a result
Filleting the anchor locker base from below and the bulkhead A to the skin while access is easy. After hull turning the anchor locker base will be glassed to the hull for durability.

Monday was an early start to pick up Passion X from Woolwich Dock after her annual antifouling but we still managed to get the first sheet of 12 mm ply installed on the starboard side albeit a late finish. Today we installed the second sheet on the starboard side so that both sides are fitted back to bulkhead D. When I say we I mean Elaine and I as we are getting into quite a productive routine with Elaine selecting the screws and placing them in the pre drilled holes so that I can run along with the impact drill and finish the job. The impact drill was a thoughtful Christmas present from two of the children and it has proven a great acquisition. One drill for the hole, another for the countersink and lastly the impact drill to drive the screws home and pull the plywood down to the stringers.

Today was quite an effort as the temperature soared into the 30’s making gluing impractical until the cool of the evening. Then as the afternoon wore on the rain clouds started to gather. As it was we timed it to perfection and had all the holes pre drilled and pre counter sunk so we could pull the glue surface faces together before the glue set.

We managed to beat the rain today but we have had a good run of fine days and plenty to do under the awnings for the next little time

While waiting for the temperature to drop I fitted one of the chainplate frames again to double check my position. With a range of clamps and temporary stringers I had it firmly fixed in place so as a last task before the rain hit I fixed it to the stringers with thickened epoxy. Once that has set I should be able to remove some of the clamps and install the other two thicknesses of 12 mm ply on the port side and then repeat the process on the starboard side.
While waiting for glue to cure I have still to fit bulkhead doublers for the next sheet of ply and there is bulkhead filletting piling up behind the sheeting.

Looking ahead I think the next milestone will be to get the chainplate frames installed and braced with the settee shelves so that they become an integral part of the structure. Then I can trim the excess on the hull side and fit the next sheet on both sides.