24 October 2013

Dry bilges, thankfully

Finally got round to lifting all the floorboards to check the "bilges". About half a sponge worth of water to remove, which is good. I always get some rain in through the companionway and it sloshes about under the floorboards. Some years it gets to the level of swirling up onto the carpeting when I'm heeled, but I think I have largely stopped most water getting in by enlarging the drain holes in the washboard channels. I have also kept the spray hood up when I remember on the mooring. That is when most rain gets in. When I put the floor back down I will use fewer  and shorter screws.  I have no idea why I used so many in the first place.

22 October 2013

Rudder back in place

It all went back in far more easily than I expected. What I couldn't do was fit the PTFE sheets either side of the blade, which I had before. I don't know if I really needed them, but there was no way they were going to go back in. This means there is a little bit of play on the blade, but that, I hope, might be a good thing. I can certainly pull the blade right up just by hauling on the up haul, which I could rarely do before. I usually had to use the boat hook to pull it right up. But I won't know until we are back in the water next year if there is too much play or not.

I have epoxied in an extra layer of marine ply into the top of the rudder head. This will stop the blade coming up too far and hitting the edge of the transom. My epoxy resin pump has now seized up completely. I tried to force the ball bearing back down to where it should be, but only succeeded in breaking off the whole valve assembly. Resin everywhere. This set of resin and hardener is well over a year old, probably getting on for two years, so I decided it was best to dump the lot. I have a repair pack which should cover all my needs over the winter. I have no major constructions planned.Just hope that the few bits I have used cure properly, which they seem to be doing.

21 October 2013

New rudder lines fitted

I have drilled out the old knotted ends of the rudder lines. They were embedded in epoxy in the rudder blade head. Difficult to drill out accurately as the soft rope allowed the drill head to move around. A drill press would be a good idea, but I don't have one. The rope ends pulled out easily once the knots were drilled out.

New ropes pushed through and a simple overhand stop knot tied. Then worked in epoxy thickened with silica. All seems pretty sound. It will need a little sanding when it has gone fully hard.

I have cut out the damaged trailing edge and epoxied in a marine ply block, which I shaped on the band saw, (really excellent for this sort of work). Then when it had set I cut back the excess and sanded smooth. I will cover it with epoxy and copper foil next time I mix some up. Final stage will be getting the blade back in the headstock, which might be a bit of a challenge. One of those multi-arm jobs I suspect.

20 October 2013

Starting work on the rudder

My rudder has needed an overhaul for a long time. Almost on the first day I nearly cut one of the control lines off by dropping the blade and catching it between the blade and stock. Perfect guillotine. I have had a knot in the line ever since. There is also a nasty notch in the trailing edge where it has hit the transom when raised.

The whole rudder head also moves back and forth too much. It swings on two machine screws. Each only moves only slightly, but they move in opposite directions, which doubles the effect. For a long time I have wanted to replace them with a single threaded rod, acting as a long pintle through both fittings. I have now done this, with less effort than I feared.

I have used nyloc nuts on an 8mm threaded stainless steel rod. Getting it up through the bottom fitting was straight forward. Lining up everything to get it on through the upper one was much harder, as everything had to be perfectly in line and the rod tapped through with a mallet. Initially I just could not line everything up. Then had a brain wave. Fitted the upper screw back in place, from above. That held the top parts in line. Then I tapped the rod gently upwards. It pushed the screw up and, as hoped, it followed the screw through and popped out at the top. One more tap sent it up far enough to get a second nut on top. All now swings nicely, with much less play. Rudder blade next.

17 October 2013

Switchboard and book case completed

The paint has dried, so I have glued in the various parts of the book shelf unit, squeezed the cats cradle of wires into the allotted space and turned it all on. Amazingly it all works. The only bit that doesn't is the battery meter, where I know a wire is loose, but it was never of much use anyway. It always showed a full charge until the battery was flat, so I never based any decisions on it. The USB port works fine and is so much easier to plug a cable into than the cigarette lighter socket. That will just be used to charge the handheld VHF. So now I can run everything at once, which might possibly not be such a good idea.

The GPS and compass will store in the space under the switch panel, so they are close to hand.

15 October 2013

Spray hood restraints

When I looked at the Baycruiser 23 at the Southampton Boat show, I was taken with the way its spray hood was held open. On my boat, there are webbing straps stitched to the edge of the hood, which are threaded through a deck fitting and back through a buckle. A fiddle to fit, and the hood was very wobbly, however tightly you pulled the strap. On the BC 23, the straps hook directly to the frame, and pull it much tighter. Matt Newland said it was how they do all the hoods now.

After some thought, I decided that it would be even better not to use webbing at all, but use a simple rope tackle, with a jam cleat to hold it all up. This can simply be hooked onto a deck eye when you want to raise it, and you can pul lit really taught. I have just finished installing this and it works really well. Only seconds to hook on and pull up, and the hood is very rigid in use. A really good alteration.

The fitting also means I can have the hood raised but the sides folded back, which I have often wanted to do, but couldn't as the sides held the hood up.

13 October 2013

Working on switchboard

I have cut out the main bits for moving the switch board and creating a small book case at the end of the main cabin bench. Fixing it all in place will take a bit of doing. I have had to replace the main length of conduit, which was not easy with the wiring in place, and I have had to do it in two pieces, but it looks ok. The hole is for the USB socket, which I hope will fit. I've only blown the fuse once so far...

10 October 2013

2013 summary

Just checked my log book to see what I did this year on the water. Down to Poole 13 Times in total, twice for launch and recovery and all the rest sailing. 271nm in total and 8 nights on board, all of them at anchor. Not a bad tally and some glorious weather this year. Hope next year is as good.
Have fixed hinges to two locker lids, and starting on an overhaul of the electrical installation. Festoons of wires. Plan to reposition the switch panel and install a USB socket. Didn't need one of those just three years ago.

7 October 2013

Instruments moved

I have moved all of my instruments to one area, fixed on the starboard cabin bulkhead. Doesn't look much of a change, but it is for me. I have always used a removable instrument panel in the companion way, but I got fed up with it last year. Always a bit of a fiddle to get in place, and then it was hard to get into the cabin. Now they are all on the bulkhead. The GPS and compass slide out for storage and the depth sounder is bolted in place. I have lowered the latter a few inches, so that everything is in a "single glance" position. Amazingly, the drilled-out core for the wiring was still lying on my workbench after two years, so I glued it back in place and drilled a new hole lower down. The wires are all still loose inside, but I am planning to move the fuse box anyway, to make it a bit more accessible. I have also been careful to ensure I can still lean back comfortably against the bulkhead when lounging in the cockpit.

I have through bolted the winch and jammer on the cabin roof, which makes them much more secure. However, it does mean I have protruding bolt ends in the cabin at a point where they could easily gash a head. I am going to have to devise a cover of some sort for them.

1 October 2013

Mizzen sheet cleat supports

I moved the mizzen sheet cleats last year so that they were screwed to the inside of the cockpit coaming, just forward of the boom gallows supports. This worked very well for accessibility, but I often failed to put the rope in the cleat fully as my natural reaction was to pull the rope down rather than push it back into the vertical cleat. So my first job (before I have even fully emptied the boat) has been to cut a pair of 18mm plywood supports, which will hold the cleats horizontally. These squeeze in between the gallows legs and the coaming and will be screwed and glued in place. (They are just dry fitted here).

I was very pleased with how these came out, as they need a mitred cut on the inside edge to match the leg and a compound mitre cut to match the sloping coaming. Both were measured with sliding bevels and cut on the band saw, which worked very well. I cut the groove for the leg with a round wood rasp. I feel a proper boat builder now.
They also serve multiple functions, which is always good. As well as holding the cleat, each pad also provides a better location for the lacing eye for attaching the bottom of a flag halyard too, and provide additional fore and aft bracing to the boom gallows, which has been lacking