31 December 2011

Tiller extension

I have started making a tiller extension. I didn't want to use an of the peg one, partly because they seem so expensive for a bit of aluminium tube. I bought a hinge and cut a piece of softwood to fit. I want it to lie neatly along the tiller, so this required a slight curve, which was the other problem with a bought one, they are straight. I curved it by using a hot air gun on the underside whilst I bent it in a vice. Worked just nicely, with a slight scorch mark under the curve, which lenads an artisan air to it. It was slightly loose at the hinge so I stiffened it up with two glued wedges, which stick out on the photo. These have now been cut back. I glued a cheek on each side of the handle area and will carve them to a comfortable grip.

27 December 2011

Outboard fairing flap

One of the flaps in the outboard well had broken off. I have managed to get a meter of slot strip, which is plastic reinforced with sail cloth. I sandwiched a piece of fibreglass tissue between two lengths of it and glued the whole lot together with epoxy. This seems to have made a suitable strip. I unscrewed the covering board underneath and slid in the new bit and all seems well. I don't think it needs antifouling in practise, but it looks a bit bright at the moment.

I have been washing down the superstructure ready for sanding and painting. She is remarkably dirty.

20 December 2011

Everything must earn its place

One of the old sailing mantras is that everything on board must have at least two uses to justify its being carried. My new gallows supports the mast when lowered, the mast, boom and mizzen when towing and the boom at anchor. It holds the lateral navigation lights up where they can be seen. It also gives me a secure, easily visible spot to fix my trailer lighting board, which is much more visible than the current end of trailer location hidden away under the boat. That's five uses already. If I get around to it, it will also be the end frame to a spray hood extension. With six uses, I think that just about justifies it.

16 December 2011

Boom gallows finished

Gallows painted, with just a little touch up needed when I paint the rest of the boat. Wiring and navigation lights went on without a problem and it is all done. Feels quite firm, but the bases are held just by six screws. There would be a lot of leverage on them if someone crashed into the gallows, but I don't think that should be a great risk.

The only new bits I still want to add to the boat are a tiller extension, which I will start on in the new year, and some extra windows in the spray hood, which I will get done professionally some time.. After that it is just cleaning painting and getting ready for the next season.

6 December 2011

New navigation lights ready for fitting

I have got my navigation lights from Piplers of Poole. Neat little LED lumps which are designed for RIBS but I think they will be just fine for me.  They should draw under 2W between them.

I have fitted the stern light without much trouble. The side lights will have to wait until I have painted the booms gallow support and screwed it in place. Then I can put one at each end.

I have wired them in temporarily to check that the basic idea works and it does. I shall feel much safer sailing around in the gloaming, which often happens to me when I am looking for good anchorage in the evening.

28 November 2011

Wiring covers finished

Took the clamps off and the wooden quadrants over the stern light's wiring stayed firmly in place, which was a relief. I managed to clear up the epoxy squirts before they had gone rock hard which is good. It is an awkward position to sand. I will probably paint the quadrants to match the rest of the super structure. I don't think they will stain to match the edging as they are softwood. Just waiting for the lights to arrive so I can check wiring holes and then fit them. Once they are on the main jobs left are painting the super structure.

I am not sure the hull needs another coat of paint. It looks pretty good apart form some chips where the anchor goes up and down. That will inevitably get chipped again, so I think some touching up is all that is worth doing. The boot top anti-fouling does need repainting. Nearly all of it had come off by the end of the season. But it did the job.

27 November 2011

Navigation light wiring in place

I have routed two 5Amp wires around the cockpit, which link the port, starboard and stern navigation lights in parallel. The wires are hidden the under the side decks completely when running to the side lights, but the pop up into the open to reach the stern light. I have fitted a softwood moulding in each corner of the coaming, right at the stern, which covers them nicely there. I will paint the wood eventually and it will not notice to anyone.

Round the back of the coaming I have run the wires under the projecting hardwood edging, covered by a quadrant moulding which I had planed out at the back to form a run for them. I had to heat bend the moulding to get any chance of fitting it. The first go I inevitably bent it the wrong way and had to cut another length. The whole lot is now clamped on an epoxy bed, which I hope will hold it. About the trickiest clamping I have had to do. Nothing is parallel or thick enough t get a grip on. I wouldn't be surprised if the whole lot didn't just fall off when I release the clamps.

24 November 2011

Ready for the finishing stages

I am varnshing the wooden pads, book shelves and strips with Tonkinois varnish, which is taking an age to dry in this humid cold weather, so it will be a long job. I have fiddled and got the wiring from the switch box ready to connect to the navigation lights. I have bored new holes through the second flat fender and cut the ropes to length, so I can hang them very quickly off small cleats on the inside of the coamings. And I have ordered the navigation lights and topsides paint from Piplers in Poole. I think I know how I will run the light wires around, and will start on it over the weekend. I can't do any painitng until Ihave given the boat a thorough clean as she is filthy.

21 November 2011

Bookshelf arrangement

This shows the strips and blocks screwed to an MDF board which makes up my bookshelf unit. It just drops onto the existing shelf behind the upstand. It doesn't look quite so neat now, after I spilt linseed oil all over it. I have decided to varnish the woodwork after oiling, as the plain oiled wood looks lovely but really picks up the dirt. I have just ordered some "Tonkinois" varnish for the job.

Gallows shaped and finished, ready for paintng.

The gallows cross beam is cut to length, mahogany ends glued on and the whole thing sanded ready for painting. Planing mahogany is a delight. Long dark shavings coming off smoothly. The temptation to keep on planing just for the pleasure of it is hard to resist. I will stain the ends and the spar support bracket and paint the wood ivory to match the superstructure.

I have drilled the beam for the navigation lights and threaded through two wires just to see if it can be done. These wires are not the final ones, they are not long enough. I still have to work out how they will go round the back of the boat. There is no obvious hidden route and access into the rear compartment is not that easy. Another for the wait-and-see department.

20 November 2011

Cabin works advancing

I have fitted a false back to one of the backrests in the cabin. This gives just enough room for a few A2 sized charts to be slid in behind the seat. I have had the charts laminated at a local print shop so they should be fairly indestructible.

I have built up two simple little book shelves on the forward cabin shelf. I had fitted an MDF base to the shelf a year ago, and the bookshelf sides are just screwed to it. They will only hold a few, but that is all I carry. I carefully masked all round the wood so that I could oil it without staining the MDF. Finished the job by knocking over the bottle of linseed oil, sending it flying over everything. So much for preparation.

Boom gallows work

I have finished the wedges at each end of the beam and the whole thing screws up really tightly and feels quite firm. The three spars slot in fine, but with little spare length for the boom. The shroud shackles on the mast just touch the mizzen mast when stowed, which is a shame. Just another millimetre apart and they wouldn't have touched at all. I don't think it will be a problem.

I have bolted on the tabernacle support. I had to widen the boom slot slightly as the goose neck fitting has to fit in as well. everything is quite firm. I am going to fit bungee hold down cords, which will be all that is needed to hold things in place.

You can see the wedges at each end. I am going to cut off the beam beyond each wedge and epoxy on a mahogany end cap. I have also drilled through the beam for navigation light fittings. I had thought I would have to level up the ends for the lights, but they are so close to horizontal that I don't think I need to. The boat will be rolling and heeling anyway.

19 November 2011

Boom gallows shaping up

The struts are cut to length, and angle. The spar support bracket is glued to the curved beam and I have epoxied bigger backing pads to the outside of the coaming to stiffen the whole thing up. I haven't matched the angle between the top of the struts and the cross beam as closely as I had hoped, so I am gluing on some wedges to give a firm base to screw the struts through. I still need to cut the beam to its final length and I may glue on a mahogany end trim. The beam will be painted ivory to match the cockpit.

The further plan is to run wires up through the struts to navigation lights at each end of the beam. I have seen some nice LED ones which would fit on neatly and only draw 1W or less. There will be easy access to the mizzen and no obstruction to lounging on the side decks. And as planned, I can take it all off by just unscrewing it if I don't like it.

16 November 2011

Mast support bracket take two (and three)

I wasn't happy with my first mast and boom support bracket. It was too big and clumsy. I had left room around each spar and they were far too loose. I have cut a completely new one, using hole saws and jig saws to make cut outs that fit the spars. They all slot in nicely and the whole bracket is wider and lower. If the fit is close, there will be no movement and no chafe. That is the theory in any case.

I used the gallows support to trace out a matching support to fit on a block at the tabernacle. I cut this from the last largish piece of Robbins 18mm marine ply, which I have been hoarding for over a year. Again, it fits really neatly. I need to sand and round of everything, epoxy the gallows block in place and then finish the gallows supports, which I can't do until this beam and bracket is finished . All being well it will be done and ready for painting after the weekend.

15 November 2011

Mast support bracket

I have roughed our a mast support bracket in a piece of my old mahogany table top. It is shaped to hold the boom at any time it is lowered, or to hold the lowered mast centrally without crushing the sail track. The boom and mizzen should stow either side of it in the angled recesses. I need to drill for restraining bungee cords and hooks yet. I will fit a similar shaped support at the tabernacle. All being well it should mean that the rig can be lowered and stowed rapidly. Currently, I can get the mast down in seconds, but it takes a remarkably long time to lash everything securely in place. I hope this arrangement will allow me to do it all in just a couple of minutes. I have lined the bracket with a strip of vinyl flooring, but may change that to something more refined. Soft leather would be ideal but I don't think I have got any.

14 November 2011

Boom support "beam" out of the mould

The cross beam is out of the clamps. I am quite pleased for a first lamination. It is very strong. I stood on teh centre and it just flattened out slightly. The angles of the ends don't quite match the angles of the supports on the tops of the stanchions, but it is close and a couple of thin wedges will fit it all into place. There were some gaps along the edge of one joint on the underside. which I couldn't see, but I have worked some extra epoxy into it and it should be fine. A lot of sanding needed before I could run a plane along each edge. I need to sand each wide face smooth as there are a number of epoxy dribbles on them.

13 November 2011

Boom and mast support

I have always wanted some form of boom gallows. Partly to speed things up when raising and lowering the mast, and partly to form a basis of a cockpit tent/spray hood extension. I also hate having loose things the lying around in the cockpit or hidden away in the cabin. The boom scissors I have work fine, but they just irritate me. My latest attempt will use two guard rail stainless steel stanchions, secured to the cockpit coaming as far back as they can go and still support the lowered boom. I have fitted two wedges to make the base fittings parallel. (I must confess that I glued one wedge on the wrong way round and had to chisel it off and start all over again.)

Joining the stanchions will be a curved, laminated cross beam, made from four think softwood planks, braced in a curve and glued together. I have never laminated anything like this before.When I first clamped the boards, all of the chocks I had carefully nailed along the curve on the workbench just pulled out. Eventually I screwed them all down to the bench with 4 inch screws. All of the jig is covered in parcel tape and all four layers epoxied together, so hopefully in the morning the bits which should stick together do so, and then bits that shouldn't, don't. I am also thinking of fitting side navigation lights onto the ends of the gallows, which will get them fairly high but keep them out of the way. As always, we shall see.

11 November 2011

Oiling wood and boring holes in foam rubber...

I have spent the last week linseed oiling various bits of wood. Firstly, the two doormat pads, which I have now screwed to the side decks. I have found that I can screw them down firmly without the screws penetrating the plywood underneath, so I have left them like that, without any glue underneath. That means they will be easy to remove if necessary (mainly if I decide they look god awful). I have also narrowed my original cockpit table and added two up-stands to the short edges. This means that when it is propped in front of the companionway it forms a comfortable seat with your legs in the cabin, and that it doesn't stop you opening the cockpit locker. It has got the table leg socket screwed to the underside and lives in the cabin when sailing. All pieces have had six coats of linseed oil, which leaves a wonderful colour and surface.

Secondly, I have bored two holes through the width of one of my flat fenders. This means I can thread ropes down through them, so that they hang better and the ropes don't get in the way of them being used as cockpit cushions. I puzzled over how to bore these long holes for some time. In the end I bought a length of 8mm aluminium pipe, filed some grooves in one and and then pushed and twisted it into the foam rubber. That worked quite well, but I quickly discovered I could speed up the process just by whacking the end of the tube with a hammer and blasting it through. Threading the rope was tricky, but I managed to feed it into the tube, and then pull the tube out, leaving the rope in place. I have repositioned the fender cleats so that I don't trip over the ropes and can quickly hang the fenders in place. I need to do the other fender, but my tube is full of foam rubber, so I don't know if it will go through so easily next time.

2 November 2011

Wooden "door mats"

One thing that has bothered me for a long time is the damage and mess on the side decks from people's feet (mainly mine). Whether getting in from a dinghy or off a pontoon or off a ladder in the shed, you tend to step on the deck and grind your foot around as you swivel to get on. It  means there is always a dirty patch just by the cabin bulkhead.  I thought of fitting a fake teak deck, but at £500 just for the strips (it's only polyurethane for goodness sake) that was a non-starter.

Then I pondered various ways of fitting timber slats on the side decks. I think that could work, but the edges and back of the deck curve, they are not parallel and there is a large locker lid in one deck. I didn't think I could do a good enough job. So I have plumped for solid wood "door mats", one each side, just by the cabin, where you step in. Their width is determined by the space between the bulkhead and the locker lid. I have made them from edge laminated softwood boards, which I have found is stable and strong even on a boat. I think they look quite good. I will screw them from underneath onto sealant and then use linseed oil to finish the tops and edges.

29 October 2011

Let there be even more light

I have fitted two small switchable LED light units over the Vee berth. Very pleased with the results. I now have controllable light in all parts. The total wattage of all internal lights is less than 4 watts, so the battery and solar panel (rated at 10 Watts) should be able to cope easily.
One curious discovery. The lights are mounted on a plywood base, which I hollowed out to hold the connections. I marked the fitting positions with a ball point pen. when I painted the base, by the time the paint dried, the pen marks had migrated to the surface. After a second coat, the same thin. It looked like I had drawn with the pen on top of the paint. Very curious.

I am also planning to make two very small book shelves either side of the big shelf in the fore peak. It is too low and shallow to allow books to be fore-and-aft, but I can get in a few side to side. So much for getting junk off the boat

27 October 2011

Top coat on

Rubbing down the edge of the primer with white spirit before it was set hard worked well. No noticeable edge to the painted patch. I have applied a single top coat and I am pleased with the result. There is a very slight undulation, but as I mentioned earlier, that is the case with the hull in many areas. I will rub down the very slight raised edge later. I will then overcoat the whole hull at a later stage. 
I have also roughed out a support base to two interior lights. Once that is painted I will fix it in place and if it all works, that will be the interior electrics completed. And it isn't even November yet!

26 October 2011

Cracked area primed

I have masked off and primed the area of the crack, and I'm really quite pleased with the result. Not absolutely smooth, but no part of the hull is. this is bent plywood, not moulded plastic. If you crouch down and peer up at reflected light, you can just about make out a slightly raised area where the fairing compound was applied, but looked at straight, it is invisible. I will try to rub down the vertical edges of the primer this evening with a little white spirit before it goes hard. That should feather the edge sufficiently for an overcoat to hide it.

25 October 2011

Cracked hull filled and smoothed

I filled the prepared area with epoxy mixed with light weight fairing filler (micro-balloons, which I think are miniature glass bubbles) and left that to set. It looks like polyfilla, but as it sets by curing rather than drying I gave it 24hours to set. It is sandable, but much harder than the aforementioned polyfilla. Fortunately I bought a power sander a few weeks ago, so just kept at it until eventually I couldn't feel any roughness or protuberances when I closed my eyes and ran my fingers over it. Fingers are amazingly sensitive. Areas which looked perfectly smooth could feel distinctly rough. I shall prime it and overcoat it and leave it at that, as I plan to sand the whole hull and repaint it later in the winter.

I have got two little LED cabin lights to fix over the fore peak Vee berths. I will need to make a small wooden baseplate for them so that the wires can run in from underneath. The four cabin lights should draw only about 3  watts in total, so my 20Ah battery should be able to cope easily. Interestingly (to me anyway) the solar panel on the cabin roof is showing a charge to the battery just from the daylight coming in through the shed window. It also charges whenever the fluorescent lights are turned on. I have reconnected the battery meter on the switch panel and it shows the battery still as fully charged.

22 October 2011

Painful repairs

It had to be done, but it hurt to start. I've started on the crack in the hull. Squirting Araldite into it just after it happened worked, it is all bone dry. I used a hot air gun to soften the paint and scraped most of it off. Then went over with a power sander along all of the crack. At each end it is just a hairline crack in the surface veneer, which just needs filling. In the centre the plywood has delaminated a bit. I have opened it up with a Stanley knife so there is room to inject some slightly thickened epoxy. Then I think just a bit of fairing and sanding will finish it off. It is not in a stressed area, so I think no need for major surgery.

I like my semi-bulkhead, so I am fixing it in place permanently. I pulled off the timber strips on the ceiling which held it in place and I have worked an epoxy fillet in one one side. When that has cured I will repeat on the other side. It looks a bit messy here but it is actually quite smooth. Once it is all painted it should look like it has always been there. These are the main epoxy jobs I need to do, and I wanted to complete them before it gets too cold. My shed is unheated.

17 October 2011

Internalwiring progresses

I have wired in a switch for the main cabin lights, so they can be turned on and off independently of the main light switch. I have also fitted two long wires leading into the forepeak, so that I can fit some bunk lights up there. I had forgotten that for once I had wired in litle screw terminals so that I could attach new items easily, and it was all quite straight forward. I will have depth sounder and GPS on one main switch, cabin lights on a second and the third will be for some navigation lights. I have fitted two tail wires for that, so that I don't have to open up the switch panels again. That still leaves me with a cigarette lighter outlet, which  I use for recharging my VHF and my mobile phone. I can't see that I shall need any more switches, which is just as well, as I don't have any more.

16 October 2011

Dinghy really is a boat, she floats

We launched her on the local river, which can only be used for about 50 yards between overhanging trees. She floats level and takes two quite comfortably. The longitudinal seat makes it easy to balance, but I need to move the rowlocks closer to the stem. Other than that I am very pleased. I can really say I have built  a boat now.

I am still working on tidying up the wiring in Daisy G and I have now got a spur for navigation lights, to be fit at some stage. I still need to fit a spur for lights in the forepeak, which I want to improve reading in bed. Not sure the winter is long enough to get it all done.

15 October 2011

Floor alterations just about completed

I have just about completed the alterations to the cabin sole. The pipe linking the ballast tanks is now hidden from view and I have a secure place for my bucket (an important item in any boat. I brought mine back form India as hand luggage.) I have still to refit the battery restraining strap and then to paint the plywood. I have also bored a hole between the battery space and the back end of the berth, so that wiring can pass directly between the battery and the switch panel without wrapping it around the edge of the bulkhead. There is a lot of rationalising of the wiring to be done.

I have also extended the half step in the sole by the water tank to fill that whole area. (The half step is there to cover over the bilge pump pipe and its strum box which comes into the cabin just there.) This allows me to put in the cool box in a fore and aft position, which makes it easier to get at when the table is open. Now that the sole is complete, I will take it all up so that I can thoroughly dry out the bilge and boat floors, slop some preservative over those floors and eventually refit them all and lay new carpets tiles. I will be able to lift any section of the sole just by undoing about four screws.

13 October 2011

Working on the floor in the cabin

I have needed to sort out the floor all year. Small amounts of water get into the cabin through the companion way and from the engine when I stow it inside. These build up under the floor and slosh out when the boat is healed. I can't lift the floor easily as it is a double layer of plywood and you have to take up all of it to get at the bilge. So I have replaced the bottom layer just with strips of plywood over the floors and then a single layer over the top. This can be removed in sections if necessary to sponge out any dribbles.

I have also started boxing in properly under the companion way where the portaloo and battery sit. Work half done, but I managed to burn out a fuse on the battery by trying to see what happened if I touched two wires together. Doh! Hopefully Halfords will have a replacement. The space for the portloo is so tight for height that I had to plane of the backside of the plywood before it would slide in. That means it won't move at sea.

I haven't started on the crack repair yet as I am out of epoxy resin and I am waiting until Rutlands have one of their 15% off everything and free postage sales before I buy some more. They are the cheapest then.

9 October 2011

How to store a dinghy

Hang it from the roof.

In the summer I am planning to hang it upside down so I can lower it down onto a roof rack. Just need to figure out an easy way to get it off the rack at the other end. I can't store a dinghy at my marina. They don't have the room and so they provide a little fleet of dinghys you can borrow.

8 October 2011

Sailing dinghy

Here is the little dinghy with Daisy G's mizzen n place.I think it might just work. saves having to carry a seperate sailing rig for her. The mast heel needs to be sorted out, it is quite loose.

7 October 2011

Portuguese baby is finished

My little project is finished. I have just fitted a length of Daisy Grace's old main sheet around the gunwales as a fender. I'm am quite pleased with the way she looks, although the deck looks a bit like it was just dropped on top (which it was). I need to get a set of roof bars for my car before I can get her anywhere near water. We live on top of a limestone hill and there isn't a drop of free standing water around here.

5 October 2011

I must cut back on junk on board

I have just spent the evening unloading everything from Daisy G and as always it horrifies me how much stuff I carry on board. Each year I promise not to do it. But it has all come out, all of the lockers are open and there are just some ropes left to remove which are shackled on (sheets and kicking strap.) At the weekend I hope to push her outside to give her a good scrub down before I start on any repairs and alterations. I enjoy the off season almost as much as the on saeson.

3 October 2011

Daisy G back in her shed with the new baby, ready for winter tinkering

Building room is a bit tighter but not too bad. It smells like a dockyard with sea weed and mud. The first thing will be to get everything stripped out and to give the boat a good scrub. This will be the first winter that I have had Daisy G at home and under cover, so it will be fun to be able to work properly on her.

The lighting board fell off on the way back, again, and shorted out half my lights. I am abandoning using the trailer to hold the board. I will mount it on the boat itself from now on.

2 October 2011

Daisy Grace is out of the water (7nm 393nm total)

Daisy G is back home. The weather was so glorious  (25C) that I motored over to Redhorn Quay for lunch before I hauled out at Baiter. The water ballast again came into its own. I was able to haul her onto her trailer with only one wheel partly in the water and just the tyre on the other. Everyone else was having to fully submerge their trailers on this horribly shallow pitched slipway. No problem towing home apart form the lighting board falling off and shorting out half my lights. I am going to fit it to the boat itself in the future. The low slung arms at the back of the trailer have given me nothing but trouble.

This just about shows the growth on the Coppercoat after six months on a mooring in Poole Harbour, which is a highly fouling area. There are some barnacles and some slime. I think it is remarkably clean. I shall leave them to dry of for a while at home and then they just brush off.

Now for all the winter jobs, including fixing that crack in the topside.

30 September 2011

Varnishing started. Launch day looms…

First coat of varnish on. They always say you need at least 12 and really 14. I usually get bored after three. I have my suspicions that “they” who make these recommendations also make varnish. I am using simple foam brushes that I got form the children's painting section of a local discount store. They give a good finish, only last for one coat, but that is all you want them to do, and it saves me ruining yet another brush.

29 September 2011

Dinghy painted and ready to varnish

The final paint coat is applied and the worst gaps touched up. I have used Dulux weathershield internally. which was remarkably thick and had to be rolled on hard. I have painted the floor with Sandtex masonry paint for a non slip finish. It looks OK but only time will tell how robust it is. I need to varnish all of the deck, gunwale and transom and then fit a fender rope around the edges. Then she will be ready to launch (scary). I know she will float because wood floats. Beyond that it will be literally a voyage into the unknown…

28 September 2011

Just a short test



Nothing special here, but I am just testing out a new way of posting to this blog from Windows live. Anything to make it easier. Daisy G. sits demasted in the hottest week of the year and on Sunday I shall no doubt be stuck in a Bournemouth traffic jamb trying to get her home in the heat.

25 September 2011

Packing up ready for haul out

Down to Poole just for the day, getting Daisy G ready for hauling out next week. I could do it all in one go, but I like to spend the time just getting everything off and the spars stowed as securely as I can. Then there is as little to do as possible on haul out day. It wouldn't matter if that day was a nice, breezeless autumn day, but if the wind is blowing and the rain pouring, I just want to get her on her trailer, strapped down and away. I had a frustrating hour's delay as I couldn't get back to my mooring because of the low tide. I could have floated all the way to the mooring fine, but I couldn't get the rudder down, or the centreboard, and the wind was so strong it just kept blowing me round and away. In the end I just went back to the pontoon and went for a walk whilst I waited for the tide to rise.

The dinghy progresses slowly. First coat of Dulux paint has gone over the insides, but it will need at least one more but probably two. But it is easy to apply. I will be interested to see how well it survives. I have added two little wood "ears" to the gunwales either side of the bow. They form comfortable handles for lifting the front to move her around, without projecting out anywhere. They look a little odd, but I shall see how they work. I can take them off easily if I don't like them.