Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Starboard Hull Ready for Topsides

The starboard hull is now ready to be lifted out of the building cradles so I can turn it to either side for installing the topside panels. All the bunks are now in and filleted, and most of the filling and fairing work in the lower hull compartments is complete. I made another trip to New Orleans last Saturday and picked up more okoume marine ply for the cabin roofs, decks, and cockpit. I should have enough to finish the project now.

As you can see the starboard hull is close to the outside lattice wall of my building shed. Last night we had several severe squall lines pass through the area, complete with hail, isolated tornadoes, and nearly horizontal rain driven by 50-70mph winds. Nothing was damaged, but this morning I had to sponge several inches of water out of each of the lower compartments in the starboard hull. Apparently the wind was so strong it blew the rain sideways right through the lattice. Everything in the hull interior was well-sealed with epoxy, so no harm done.

Here's the sequence of final tasks completed before the bunks went in. First the floor area in the main companionway was sheathed in 6 oz. fiberglass cloth. I did this in both hulls as this is the one floor panel that will be walked on and subject to having things dropped on it. In the photo you can see the blue tape used to define the perimeter of the glass. Three coats of epoxy were eventually applied.

Everything below the bunks got another clear coat of sealing epoxy after a thorough sanding and fairing. This will be the final finish below bunks, as no sunlight will get to these areas and there is no need for U.V. inhibiting varnish as there will be above bunk level.

Here you can see the bunks are in and filleted. These fillets will be sanded and faired with additional passes of thickened epoxy, but for now the hull is locked in and is a rigid structure. I can remove the temporary braces shown here and lift the hull in slings for turning.

These braces were necessary while the bunk fillets were curing, but they were hastily screwed and clamped in position and proved to be quite dangerous. I got a nasty gash just over my right eye when I bumped my head on a support post in the shed, which in turn bounced me face first into the end of one of these 1 x 2 pieces of Doug fir. I shouldn't have left the long ends sticking out like that, but I wanted to reuse them later, so I didn't cut them off. Now my right eye has been swollen for two days and I look like I've been in a bar fight!

Over on the starboard hull, I'm working on the details that have to be completed before the fore and aft decks can be installed. Much of this involves finishing up the fairing in the buoyancy compartments, and prepping the large bow compartment for paint. I decided to paint this storage hold white inside, as it is not connected to the cabin interior and will only be seen from the deck. The white interior will make it easier to find stuff inside, as well as to keep clean. I'm also going to install a small shelf at the interior stringer level in this compartment to divide the storage area somewhat and provide a place for smaller lighter items in the upper part.

In the photo below you can see the doublers I'm gluing to the inside of the sheer on the inboard sides beneath the decks. This will provide more solid wood to receive the screws that will be used to fasten the trampoline lashing rails to the inboard edges of the decks.

Other details below decks are the shelves I'm adding in the area over the bunks and just forward of the front cabin bulkhead. This is the foot area of the bunk and there is plenty of room for two narrow shelves at the level of the lower hull to topside panel joint. Adding shelves here will serve to reinforce this joint as well, as they will be filleted into position.

These shelves are narrow enough to be out of the way, but wide enough for things like flashlights or even books stood up with a bungee cord retainer across them. I made a small fiddle rail of teak for each shelf and glued it on with the industrial Superglue I've mentioned before.

The shelves with teak fiddles are coated with epoxy. A small fillet at the fiddle rail joint completes the assembly, and the shelves, made of 6mm ply, weigh next to nothing.

I'm off to Jackson again later today, where the rest of the week I'll be working on finishing up the Backwoods Drifter I'm building and hopefully getting the front fairings installed on my crossbeams.

1 comment:

C.C. O'Hanlon said...

Element II is really beginning to take shape – she looks great. Nice photography too.