Monday, April 20, 2015

I am sick of the stink of paint fumes

The problem is my office is over the garage and the fumes accumulate - even with the windows open. I may have to construct a shelter outside next time I need to paint the boat. 

Not the best finish, I should probably have removed all the paint and started from scratch but I want to go sailing. Maybe next year I will strip it right back and re do it.

I still have quite a bit of work to do but I'm hopeful of getting it done by the weekend.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

The repairs are nearly done

Just another coat or two of paint (and I need to buy another tin).
  • Refit the centerboard slot gasket (I might get a new one)
  • Turn her over, refitting the centerplate
  • Finish the repairs in the floor of the cockpit
  • Sand and r-varnish the decks
  • Refit the fittings
  • Take her to the club, rig her up and go sailing!
If I had nothing else to do she would be in the water by next weekend but realistically it will be the 26th April at the earliest. Later than I hoped but I guessed it would be towards the end of April.

Tuesday, April 07, 2015

No more crack

The repair is almost complete. One area needs cleaning up, sanding and coating with a layer of resin to fill any cracks and hollows, I have already done that to the other area. Then both need to be sanded smooth ready for primer and top coats. Its not as neat as I would like but its solid and should last. Not long now and she will be gracing the river Trent again soon.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Over the winter months....

Over the winter months I have been working on the hull of my boat, cutting away rotten wood, plastic filler and fiberglass repairs and cutting and shaping new laminate strips to repair the hull.
The new Tool
It has been hard slow work and at times I wondered if I should find someone else to do the work because I feared I would never accomplish the task. One thing I did do was to buy a router to mill away the really tough filler and resin to get back to wood and this really did help a great deal.
Another issue that has slowed work is the air temperature. My garage is quite warm as it has the boiler in it and my office is above it but even so it has been too cold for gluing and I hate the idea of heating the garage as it really puts up the lecy bill. But as winter begins to lose its grip and spring presses in, the temperatures have risen high enough.

The following photos give some idea of the progress.
early stages of removing the old filler
gradually removing the old material
Part way through removing the rot and old repair
Using the router to cut away the rubbish
gradually removing the resin of old repair
ready for the middle layer of laminates
measuring out the laminate strip 
Laminate strips cut to approximate lengths/widths
New laminate pieces for middle layer in position.
all glued in.
Next job was to cut away some more of the outer layer around the glued areas, sand it all, then fit the outer layers and glue them in to complete the reconstruction of the hull. I have made some progress since theses photos but forgot to take photos. It now needs a bit of work to complete the task and I shall upload some shots then.
Then I shall sand it all nice and smooth, prime and paint it. I had considered looking for more problems by removing more of the paint and then coating with epoxy resin to give a clear finish but I want to go sailing. So that's a job for another long winter.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Fixing my 'Darling's' bottom

The name of my boat is Acushla which is a Gaelic word meaning 'Darling' or 'Beat of my heart' or 'Heartbeat'.

Anyway over the last few months I have been very slowly working on my boat, first exploring the problems with the hull and then preparing for the new wood to be fitted. I'm working on the major fault first, tidying up the hole and cutting away laminate layers to allow new pieces to overlap and bond in.

Next I cut to size strips of laminate to fit the holes for both the inner layer

And then for the middle layer

And then I glued the whole lot in using SP106 slow cure (so I had time to move it about and get it right)

and this is the repair so far

It looks crap but its rock solid

The only problem is a slight dip in the surface which could mean I have to fill the void with epoxy resin when I put the outer laminate in place. But I'm thinking I might just try and put a very, very thin laminate layer into the dip and see if I can avoid using a big glob of epoxy to fill the void as I'm not convinced it will give a resilient fix and may cause cracking when the boat flexes. 
Another alternative is not to try and fill the void but for the top laminate to follow the dip and then to fill on the outside with suitable filler.

My next task is to cut back the outer laminate on the hull to give a good border for the new wood and then I have to shape of the top laminate to fit. This is going to be tricky because its very big and I have to be able to apply pressure over a large curved area while its gluing.

The other problem I have is temperature. The garage is quite warm (if you think 10 degC is warm) but it needs to be 15 degC for the glue. So I have to pick the right day ( a nice sunny day) and time to start the gluing in the late morning. Not always easy when you're working too!

Thursday, October 09, 2014

My old girl has a big crack in her bottom

Yep. Its a nasty one. It all came to light in the last race of the Nottingham SC open meeting. I was just getting into 3rd place when after a gybe I noticed water gushing in through a crack and decided we needed to retire.

I got the old girl home and into the garage, tipped her on her side and with a heat gun I began to remove the paint to find the source of the problem.

The initial problem centred around a repair I had to make in the summer of 2013. I had to use a piece of plywood and I knew at the time that the underlying problem was a previous repair using a plastic filler. It turns out that the rot had got in a bit further than I thought. So I have removed my repair and have removed all the filler and begun the process of cutting and fitting new wood laminates.

And then I began to explore one or two other 'suspect' spots and discovered yet more problems.

Some lunatic decided in their 'wisdom' to use fibreglass to fill in some rotten areas of wood. Its crazy because it doesn't behave as wood, it doesn't flex in the same way and inevitable at the boundaries of  the materials you get water ingress. Plus it holds moisture in the wood so that it rots the inner layers! 

In places there was so much water in the wood that when I put the heat gun on to scrap the paint the water was boiling and forcing itself to the surface! Some of the plastic filler burst like mini volcanoes as the water trapped below the filler boiled and pushed its way out. 

Now I have a good few months of hard work just to sort out the stupid 'repairs' of past owners (Some folk should just not be allowed to own wooden boats). I'm dreading finding more and almost dare not remove any more paint for fear of what I will find. 

But Acushla will be on the water next season.

p.s. Even with only two race finishes we finished 3rd overall at the Open meeting. Results here

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Nationals 2014 edited

Here we are just after the start of the last race working our way through to leeward on the boat above us.

This year the national championships were held in Poole bay and hosted by Parkstone YC.
three days of racing became two of contrasting conditions as the winds went from light on the Friday, to heavy on the Saturday and unsailable on the Sunday. It was a great event never the less with some excellent racing with Saturday being the best with some awesome sailing. 

I was racing with my daughter Jo who made herself extremely helpful before the racing by assisting in the weighing and checking of all boats. We sailed well together and it really enjoyed the racing and the social side as well. Sailing to and from the race area took a good while and it was an opportunity for Jo to get some time on the helm and she demonstrated some skill in managing the boat in the gusts as we sailed back in on the Friday as the wind piped up quite nicely. I think she will make an excellent helm one day.
Our results were good but could have been better. I made some stupid strategic errors and wend the wrong way up the beat on more that one occasion, But when we got it right we did well with our best finish being a 6th in the last race. So we finished 14th out of 36 and were the winners of the Silver Fleet. I admit to feeling apprehensive in the first race on the Saturday in such strong winds and we took the first lap carefully but I decided that I could handle the conditions ok so we really took it up a notch or two from then on and what a difference! Such great speed on the reaches! Really great fun!

At the gybe mark close on the heals of 6918

Rounding the windward mark 

There is no picture of us reaching like this but we certainly went this quick!
Jo and I holding the Silver fleet winners trophy

This post has been edited to remove elements that, in retrospect I feel were overly harsh criticism of some aspects of the race management. If anyone who had read them prior to this editing and was offended, I offer my apologies as it was not my intention to offend. However my opinions on the matter have not changed.