Monday, May 18, 2015

Sail repairs

It seems that since I have started sailing the wind has been blowing dogs of chains almost every occasion I get to go sailing. It makes for exciting racing but my body is getting a bit of physical punishment. And its not just the body - I noticed this weekend that my jib is getting a hammering on the clew. It is to be expected because the clew on the jib gets the brunt of it as every tack it slaps against the mast and then there are the occasions when the sail flogs and again it gets the worst of it. Letting a jib flog is the quickest way to wreck it so I do my best to prevent it but there are times when you just have to let the wind do its worst.
On inspection I noticed that the stitching had come away and the material was beginning to separate on the leech just above the clew.
I took the sail home and quickly assessed the work. I have a set of sailmaker's needles and some thin sailmaker's twine as well as some sail repair tape. So I replaced the missing thread by simply stitching using the holes already made and then covered it with a strip of sail repair tape. I then checked out the rest of the sail for other repairs and found a few places that needed a bit of sail repair tape. I think it looks ok. The sail has seen a lot of action but it still has a good shape so its worth the effort to keep it going.

These simple repairs should keep the sail working for another couple of seasons but I wonder how many folk would just use it until it came apart and then get a new one. I have recently ordered a new jib, which I intend to keep for open meetings and the Nationals, and they're not cheap; a new mainsail is a pretty penny too. Taking care of your sails is not only good for the bank balance but it is also a safety issue - a sail coming apart at the seams is not much use when you're out on the water in a dinghy as you can't just change it. So take care of your sails folks. This jib is going to see a lot more use before it finally ends up as a garden shade.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

She floats! No leaks.

These images show the internal view of the repairs

Turning the boat over to finish of the repairs, I found that a number of the floor stiffeners had started to become loose and needed re-fixing. I resorted to yet more epoxy resin which seemed to do the trick. However I do wonder if a better fix is to remove the stiffeners and add a sheet of thin ply to the floor as this would strengthen and stiffen the hull. But alas the rules don't allow it.

The finished repaired hull ready to complete the fitting out, decks re-varnished and floor painted with deck paint.

It could do with a complete re-varnish of the cockpit but its good enough for another season.

Now she is all fitted out and down at Nottingham Sailing Club. I have taken her out twice, the first time was for a race with a novice crew.  It was a bit of a scramble as I was still putting the last fittings on 15 minutes before the race. We launched on what I thought was the 6 minute signal, it turned out to be the 3 minute signal so when the start signal sounded it was only the other boats speeding off that gave me a hint that the race had started. So not the best start.
Before we got to the first mark we had taken the lead and we just kept extending it until the finish. On corrected time we won by 3 1/2 minutes. Very satisfying.

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!