Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Great Weather for January

It's been unseasonably warm here for this time of year, so I've been taking advantage of the good conditions to move forward with the cockpit sheathing and other epoxy work.

I completed the under-seat storage boxes that I added to the cockpit last week.  All the interior joints have been filleted, a fairly big job with a surprising 56 linear feet of fillets to make, counting the vertical joints and both sides of the center dividing partitions.  Those interior compartments will also get fiberglass sheathing, but first I wanted to flip the cockpit over and glass the exterior.  This will allow me to safely move it around to the boat and hang it in place for a final measurement before continuing with the seats that will also serve as hatch covers for the compartments.

All exterior corners were first rounded over with a router and filling and fairing completed where necessary.  As you can see, there is a small "chine" on each side of the bottom where the bottom panels of the side boxes overlap the main cockpit floor by one inch.  I did this to for ease of assembly when adding the side compartments and for additional stiffness and strength.  The overlap required a fairing fillet to allow the glass to transition smoothly from one surface to the next.  I've also wrapped the end support ledgers on the forward and aft ends of the cockpit in glass, bonding them to the panels with a strip of glass cloth that transitions from the bottoms of these to the panels over a small fillet.  The bottom of this cockpit is so big the sheathing has to be done in stages - at least for someone working alone.  I'm using 6oz. glass cloth in a 50-inch width.

Here's a view from the aft end of the cockpit, and you can see I've also moved the forward deck into the carport to get it out of the weather so it can be completely sanded and then treated with an oil finish.  The cypress deck has been exposed to heat and cold, sun and rain since I built it in October, so this allowed me to see how the wood was going to hold up and revealed a couple of bad planks that are wanting to check.  I'll replace those, but everything else looks great.

Here is the finish that will be applied to the deck:  Deks Olje D.1, as recommended by my friend David Halladay, of Boatsmith.  This is a saturating oil that is applied in multiple coats until the wood cannot soak up any more.  It will preserve the natural color of the cypress and help prevent checking and other problems, while still giving the footing advantages of a raw deck.

Other ongoing projects include finishing up the beams.  Since I added the forward deck, I had to make and install lashing pads on the mast and forward beams to support the longitudinal stringers under the center of the deck, and these have to be glass sheathed, faired and painted.  On the aft beam, I've added a ledger/rail on the aft side of the beam that will support the central boarding ladder and its rails and provide a place to drill lashing holes for the aft trampolines on either side of the ladder.  The rail is teak so that holes can be drilled without worry about rot.  The entire assembly is wrapped in glass and bonded to the beam fairing and bottom.

On the inboard sides of the hulls, I've glassed in 1-inch by 3/4-inch Doug fir stringers that will support the side flanges that will mate up to the cockpit edges at the level of the seats.  There are many different possibilities when it comes to how to join the cockpit sides to the hulls.  I had a long discussion with David about some ideas on this the other day.  An issue is that in rough conditions or at speed, water comes up through any gap in this transition, so the gap needs to be minimal, but tolerances cannot be so close that assembly and disassembly becomes too difficult.  Drainage for rain and spray running down the inboard sides of the cabins also has to be taken into consideration, especially if you intend the under seat lockers to be dry storage, as I do, rather than wet lockers with drains.  I have some ideas I'm still working out on this transition and the design of the locker lids/seats.  I'll make a final decision as soon as I can hang the cockpit back on the boat after I finish glassing the outside.  Here's a view of one of the inboard stringers:

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