After a very pleasant Sail Port Stephens and return voyage I am back to boatbuilding in a measured way. Over Easter we had family visiting from Ballina, family gatherings and a great family sail on the harbour. A bonus with the family sail was the opportunity to hoist damp sails from the last regatta and give them a good airing in the warm sunny conditions. We also finished unloading Passion X by removing the spray dodger and the surplus kitchen ware and cooking ingredient. She is almost back in racing condition with just some minor routine sail maintenance to be finished.

The boatbuilding has to be fitted in around these activities and by design I chose some tasks that could be done in short time slots.

I take the view that everything has to be done some time and spreading the tasks out gives variety to the day.

When we left for Port Stephens the keel floors were installed but that is just the start. Each floor has a doubler across the centre to compensate for the timber removed for the keel bolt holes.

Using blocks and wedges to secure the keel floor doublers while the epoxy cures
The keel floor doubles completed waiting for the fore and aft blocking

Between the doubler and the next floor there is a full 300 mm width block by 115 mm deep of end grain timber to take compression loads in the event of a grounding. This is made up of nine blocks 33 mm wide with a extra narrow block where needed to achieve the full width. After much debate with myself I chose to glue the blocks before installation as that allows me to make a neat limber hole passage and epoxy saturate the end grain before installation.

Four of the six blocking pieces to go between the keel floors

Some of the fill in jobs include adding 10 mm strips to the stringers between bulkhead C and D to compensate for the extra frame spacing compared to Passion X. The extra 100 mm length plus the extra 400 mm width in this area makes the V berth cabin seem enormous and I am excited for the extra space under the bunks for sail storage. I am not being over dramatic when I say I am excited because I find myself shuffling sails around in the V berth.

When we go offshore we have a No 1 light, No 1 heavy, No 3 carbon, No 4 Hydranet, a storm jib, two symmetrical spinnakers, a asymmetric spinnaker and a code Zero. For harbour racing we take off the No 4 and put on an old high clewed No 1 for the social races so there is always a lot of sails to move around with half under the lockers and half above the berth top. With the wider berth tops on the new build each half will lift more easily and more sails will fit underneath.

There is also a large increase in volume in the locker under the chain locker. It is 300 mm longer and 400 mm wider at the fat end and that should be excellent storage for light but bulky items and certainly big enough for an a spinnaker or two.

I find myself torn between completing the front of the yacht and progressing the keel and aft end and so am doing a bit of both. Once the king plank is installed everything from the stem to the mast step could be finished. When I say finished I do mean finished. All the locker shelves are cut and could be installed and all the interior could be painted. It is very tempting to do this as it would spread out the sanding and painting tasks. In this respect I am reminded that 90% of boatbuilding is sanding and I have already destroyed one random orbital sander and one multipurpose tool.

Epoxy structural fillets being used as a fill in job. Also the extra strips on the stringers can be seen in this photo

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