Sunday, July 20, 2008

Upright and Moving Forward

Now that the drudgery of fairing and sanding the hulls is behind me, I've been having so much fun boatbuilding that I haven't wanted to take the time to blog about it. Since my last post I've turned the hulls upright and with several days available to work lots of progress has been made on various interior parts and the decks. The port hull, which I built first, is still a bit further along than the newer starboard hull, but I've cut and fit the foredeck and I'm working on finishing out everything below this deck area so it can be installed. Below is the starboard foredeck during initial dry fitting.

After aligning and fastening the deck stringers with temporary screws, the deck was removed for gluing on the stringers and filleting them to the deck undersides. All these surfaces were then coated with two coats of epoxy.

In the hull itself I began making and fitting the removable shelves in the hold compartment, like the ones I designed for the port hull. This division of space will make this huge storage area much more usable.

Back in the port hull, I finished the fitting of the custom-made galley sink and drilled it for the drain fitting, and then cut another shelf to continue the line of the sink counter forward into the front half of the cabin.

You can see this shelf with its fiddle rail fitted, below on top of the starboard deck. The smaller shelf in the foreground fits below it, on the interior hull stringer. The other assembly in the background will become the companionway steps for the port hull.

Here are the above parts installed. The galley sink and adjoining shelf forward, and the small shelf below it (just above the cordless drill in the photo). The clamps around bulkhead 3 are holding on a narrow trim strip of teak that is being laminated to the inside cutout of the bulkhead. A second laminate on top of this one will build it up to sufficient thickness. In the foreground below the bulkhead 3 cutout, you can see that the counter assembly for the stove has also been installed.

Moving forward in the port hull, here is a view of all the sections below the foredeck. The aft section is the foot of the bunk, and is varnished because it is part of the cabin interior. All areas above the bunks in the cabins will get 2-3 coats of marine spar varnish to protect the epoxy from U.V. light. Next is the bow hold compartment, with shelves removed in this photo. It is painted the same off-white that will be used on the decks. In the bow the sealed buoyancy compartment is painted white to allow easy inspection.

I finished today by installing the port fordeck Here it has been glued down and held in place with temporary screws. No fasteners will be left in as there is plenty of gluing surface for the epoxy along the sheer clamps and deck beams, and the edges will be reinforced with fiberglass wrapping to the bottom of the sheer clamps.

The foredeck hatch has been cut-out and a watertight double-coaming style wooden hatch will be fitted on each foredeck.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Portlight Frames

Back in February, I wrote a post describing the custom portlight frames I was making with the router. Here is the original post:

While working on the hull fairing and prepping for paint recently, I had some drying time here and there allowing for other projects. Finishing up these portlight frames was one of those. Below you can see all of the frames: A set of inner and outer ones for the small forward and larger rear portlight. The solid pieces to the left are the templates for the actual Lexan portlights.

Both outer cabin sides have already been cut and pre-fitted when the hulls were upright, so I could now go ahead and glue on the outer portlight frames. Putting them on first before installing the cabin sides on the boat will make it easy to create a nice fairing fillet around the outer edges of the frames. The frames will be sheathed with the same fiberglass covering the cabin side, and the fillets will make a nice transition possible. When the cabins are done and these sides are faired and painted, the Lexan will be installed from the inside with a silicon sealant. The inner frames will then be screwed into place to secure the Lexan.

Hull Topside Color

I've finished the hullside fairing from the waterline up to about 3 inches below the sheer. As mentioned before, I'm holding off on finishing the sheer area. This is because the fiberglass sheathing from the decks and cabin sides will wrap around the outer sheer stringer and terminate in the joint where the angled bottom of the stringer meets the hull topside panel. A lot of work remains to be done in both hull interiors before the decks and cabins are on, but that will be the next phase of the project.

I've painted this completed area of the topsides at this stage for two reasons: to check the work so far for fairness and to eliminate the need for turning the hulls completely upside down again once the decks and cabins are on. I'll put one more coat of bottom paint along the waterline while they are inverted, and by the weekend they will be ready to turn upright.

This first photo shows the prepped topsides after a coat of high-build primer and another sanding, just before the first coat of paint.

Here is the first coat of topside paint. I'll only put on one coat at this stage while the boat is in construction and still in the shed. The final coats will be applied when the decks and all other parts are complete and ready to paint.

The first coat of glossy paint revealed a smooth surface that I'm quite satisfied with. Additional sanding between coats and a couple of minor fills in some imperfect areas will bring it up to standard. The color is a custom mix I've used in the past for a couple of small boats. The paint is Petit Easypoxy, which is available in a limited range of colors, especially greens. This color is made from two equal parts of Off White and Jade Green. The color reminds me of the clear waters of the Bahama banks and the Caribbean, where I plan to sail Element II. I wanted a color that would not get too hot in the tropical sun. Decks and cabins will be Off White.