At long last the end of the project is in sight. Apart for a few odds and ends to complete in the saloon the main emphasis now is the deck and the outside of the hull.
The Mahogany covering boards-cum-rubbing strakes which I scarfed to make two off 27ft lengths before I went on holiday, have been glued and screwed in place. A start has been made on the Teak deck. So far the two margin boards and the king plank have been glued in place on the after deck and the margin board in front of the cabin and the king plank have been glued in place on the forward deck. I am now awaiting the rest of the 10mm x 35mm Teak to be delivered by the supplier. All 600ft of it! It seems an awful lot for a twenty three foot boat. I just hope that my calculation is correct!
Meanwhile the cabin sole has been fitted in the fore cabin. Because of the incline here I decided to fit it in three stepped sections. The first at the same level as the toilet floor, which will allow a door to be hung on the forward bulkhead and open in to the fore cabin thus making two separate cabins. Hinged to the door I intend to fit a drop down folding table for the saloon. This has yet to be thought out in detail but at this stage seems to be very feasible.
The cooker work top has been installed. I made a classic mistake here, Having scored the upper surface to glue the laminate to I removed it from the boat to the workshop to glue it down on a flat surface and promptly glued it to the wrong face! The end result is that it is laminated on both faces. I have convinced myself that it is a good idea as the underside laminate will act as a balancer and stop it warping. The sink work top is on the other side of the boat and although the plumbing is fitted for it I have yet to get the sink unit.
The toe rails and grab rails have been manufactured for some time and are ready for fitting to the fore deck and coach roof. In the case of the toe rails I need to complete the deck first and the latter can be fitted if I get a hold up at any time.
It has been said that it is unlikely that any boat yet built is truly symmetrical about its fore and aft centre line. Wina2 is no exception. I did not appreciate the problem until I started to lay the Teak deck. The width of the side deck was not parallel from the forward end of the saloon to the after end of the cockpit coaming.Varying from 110mm forward, 97mm in the middle and 100mm aft. The experts told me that it was the usual practice to make the margin boards wider than the deck boards and as I did not have the Teak to hand at the time I laid the athwart ships margins 45mm wide. When the supplier delivered the material it was immediately apparent that I had a problem as the side decks were going to determine the final width of the deck strakes. The first problem was that I simply could not bend 45mm margin boards round the gunwale edges, they physically would not bend that much. It also meant that I could not lay a 45mm margin alongside the cabin side as it would leave a 20mm gap between the two boards at the widest point. The only solution that I could come up with was to lay all the deck strakes 34mm wide and profile the margin board alongside the cabin side to fit. At least the deck seams would all be parallel. Clearly "Caravel's" were not designed to have a Teak laid deck!
I found it easier to start from forward when laying the gunwhale margin as here the abutment to the king plank was a straight angle which could be sawn and could be rebated 4mm wide and 5mm deep to take the caulking. Both sides were laid dry and the clamps and wedges fitted to hold them in position. They were then removed and glued with West Epoxy and re clamped in position. The next strake in I started from the aft end. The reason being that the lengths of the strakes are 2.75 M (9 feet) and I didn't want the glued and butted joints along side each other, I also had to have sufficient length to bend the strake around the bow profile. Fortunately there are only three strakes either side which run the full length of the boat.
At the stem head the strake is birds mouthed into the king plank. Again, both sides have to be laid together so that the birds mouths are the symmetrical. The procedure is the same, fit dry, lift, glue and clamp and carry on until the deck is covered. It is time consuming because the glue has to cure before the next strake can be laid.
It is a week before Christmas and the weather has turned very cold. Although it is 6ºC the wind chill factor takes below zero and I am concerned that the glue will not cure properly so must turn to other work that requires doing where glue is not required.
The middle of April 2003 and the Teak deck is finally laid. Twenty three planks either side of the king plank accounts for twenty three days and apart from eight days sunning myself in Majorca, the rest of the time was lost because the temperature was too low to do any glueing.
Odd items have been completed. A new piece of timber has been scarfed into the stem on the waterline where the boat had been hitting her buoy when she was afloat. The toilet has been installed and a start has been made on wiring in the electrics for cabin lights and instruments etc. I decided to fit fluorescent strip lights over the work areas of the galley and toilet to save power consumption and reading lights over the berths. I have two gimballed paraffin oil lamps for the saloon which apart from being decorative give sufficient light and create a cosy ambience.
I intend to leave trimming of the surplus deck caulk and finishing the deck until I have finished the outside of the hull. This entails removing some fifty years of paint and raking out all of the old caulking. I want to try and bet away from the old putty and white lead caulking as it is prone to drying hard and shrinking. I am sure that there is something that has replaced that over the last half century.
Fortunately, I can complete all the wiring runs and install the switch panel together with the plumbing and gas installation if want a break from removing paint!
All of 50 years or more of paint, both above and below the waterline has been removed.
Above the waterline the paint was removed with a hot air gun and scraper. Below the waterline I engaged the services of a professional Gel coat peeler. As there were no fastenings protruding above the surface he was prepared to do it. This saved me an awful lot of time and energy and I did not have the problem of having to dispose of the removed antifouling, being a toxic waste. I was not present to see it done and I wish I had been as the bottom is clean down to bare wood and there is no witness mark on the waterline, which was scribed in at build, to show that it had been peeled off.
The next job was to remove all of the old cotton caulking and putty and white lead from the seams. This was far harder than I anticipated using a hook rake and I was getting no where fast and was convinced that there must be an easier way of performing this task. I came up with idea of routing the seams out. Looking through a router bit catalogue I found a cutter that had an inclusive angle of 15 degrees. This was ideal as I was only going to a depth of 15mm on the planks which are 18mm thick and would give very clean edges to re caulk.
A block gauge was made up of the distance from the flat face of the router to the centre of the cutter and used to pencil in a mark from the centre of the seam to the bottom edge of the gauge. A batten was the nailed to the marks and the router run along the batten. Two passes plus a final finishing cut gave a very clean finish to the seam. The batten was then removed and moved along and the process repeated for every seam to one inch above the waterline. It was quick and easy. Below the water line will have to be done in the tradional manner. I shall only remove the putty filler and re hammer the home the cotton caulking and replace the putty with a more modern polysulphide caulk.
The thought occurred to me that as I had very clean edges to the seams on the topsides that it would be quicker and easier to spline the seams. Lengths of Mahogany were passed though a push bench saw to finish 17x8mm and the blade was set to 15 degrees and the timber pushed through again to produce a "V" section. These were then glued with Epoxy resin, hammered home and clamped in position. When the glue had cured the clamps were removed and a power plane used to remove the surplus wood leaving 0.5mm proud of the hull and sanded down. The added advantage of this is that cracks should not appear in the paint of the topsides along the seams which mars many topside paint finishes using old traditional methods. To date the Port side has been completed.
Whilst scarfing in apiece of new wood to a plank on the starboard side that was showing signs of distress where it was rebated in to the stem I discovered a pocket of rot in the stem itself which did not show itself on the outside. To remove it I decided to remove the wood by power planing a slice straight of in the hope that it was not too deep. I ended up nearly half way through the thickness of the stem before I got to sound wood. Fortunately the stem was laminated and it was a glue line that held the rot in check. Rather than glue a solid piece of timber in as a replacement I decided to laminate the stem back up as I could then more easily retain the profile of each lamination as it was glued up. I completed this at the same time as I splined up the starboard topsides.
Both topsides have now been completed, sanded, stopped up and given two coats of primer. A start has been made on cleaning up the Teak deck. The surplus deck caulk was paired of with a chisel and any un-evenness of the planks was smoothed out with a hand scraper before rough sanding to clean it all up. The grit of the sanding belts was reduced from 60 down to 180 to obtain a satisfactory smooth finish. It has been well worth the effort and I am pleased with it.
The next major job is to rake all the old putty and white lead out of the seams below the waterline. Re-hammer home the old cotton caulking as the boat has been out of the water now for four years and recaulk. A visit to the Sikaflex stand at the Southampton Boat Show and a talk with the experts revealed that they produce an under water flexible caulking material that can be gunned in and allowed to cure. Paired off and sanded, a primer has to be painted into the seams before applying the caulk to form a bond to the wood. This I shall definitely have a go with as it will save a lot of time and anxiety of the traditional Putty and white lead shrinking or drying out before launching.
This will happen after I realise a lifetime's ambition of sailing across the Atlantic Ocean. I have been invited to crew aboard a Moody 44 sloop participating in the World Cruising Organisation's Atlantic Rally for Cruisers. Our race Number is 156 and the name of the boat is "Not Yet". We depart Las Palmas, Gran Canaria on 23rd November 2003 bound for finish line at St Lucia in the West Indies.
We shall stay there for about four days and then depart for Tobago also in the Lesser Antilles group of Islands. There I shall leave the boat and find my way home. Date of arrival back in the U.K. is unknown, But who cares!Atlantic Crossing
It is the beginning of May 2004 and I seem to have achieved very little since returning from my Atlantic crossing on "Not Yet". The weather has been very inclement. Strong gales from the South West have been almost continuous interspersed with freezing North East winds and near 0 deg temperatures making it too cold to work outside.
Two thirds of the old caulking has been raked out below the waterline on the port side and about one third on the starboard side. Because of the weather I moved to tasks inside the boat. Two holes for the log and depth sounder of 57mm diameter have been cut in the garboard strake and sleeved with a 52mm inside diameter ring of Silicone Bronze. I have had to do this because both of the transducers are plastic and any swelling of the wood could crush them. Obtaining Bronze transducers for wooden boats is nigh on impossible.
Holes for the compass and combined log and depth instrument have been cut in the cabin/ cockpit bulkhead ready for fitting. This will have to wait until I make the wash board so that I can secure and lock the cabin. More cables for the Navigation lights have been run and connected to the Switch panel. On reflection this would have been a lot easier if I had run the cables before fitting the interior furniture!
The mast deck pad has been finished and glued and screwed in place. This one inch thick Teak and spans over three saloon deck beams and is twenty two inches wide to cover the two Oak King posts either side of the forward bulkhead which take the vertical thrust of the mast.
The coach roof deck has been given a coat of Epoxy primer followed by two coats of non slip deck paint. The cabin sides, cockpit and rubbing strakes given a further thee coats of varnish. The cabin windows have been sealed in and the stainless steel trims fitted. If the rain persists then I shall bed and secure the chain plates next.
I made a three panel folding door for the forward bulkhead to separate the fore cabin from the saloon. I did not think this through. When I hung it would not open properly as it fouled a deck beam due to the slope of the deck. I have had to resort to a four panel door and hangs from the port side king post on lift off hinges. I have had to do this to enable the first part of the forward cabin floor to be lifted for access.
There are still a lot of things to do inside the boat. The cooker has to be installed as has the sink and plumbing. More cables to run for the steaming light, tricolour and Radio. All of these require deck connectors so that the mast can be unstepped. A final coat of paint and varnish needs to be applied. Berth cushions need to be made and the list goes on.
The pulpit and stem head fitting are in the process of manufacture. When they are fitted then the cleats and fair leads can be positioned as can the chain pipe. A new tiller has been laminated up from ash and mahogany and is in the process of being varnished. I really must get down to finish raking out the old caulking on the bottom of the hull below the waterline now that the warm weather is here. A thankless task.
The end of the first week in September and I enter the fifth year of the Restoration.
At long last the re-caulking of the hull has been completed and four coats of wood primer applied. A job I never want to do again in my life time. It has taken a very long time to do and the end fully justifies my decision to do it. The penalty is that I shall not launch this year as it is now too late in the season so I shall try and get her to a sail-a-way condition over the winter months.
The new stem head fitting and the pulpit have been fitted but not finally bedded down but the forward cleats and fairleads have.
I am undecided at the moment whether or not to fit guard rails the full length of the boat. The original pulpit and guard rail terminated at the deck just aft of the start of the coach roof. The side decks are very narrow and stanchions fitted along here would inhibit their use for getting forward. They may also foul the Genoa track and cars so I guess I shall have to step the mast and rig her before I make that decision.
Equally, I would like to fit a push pit back aft and have some arrangement for fitting dodgers. It would also serve to fasten the cockpit cover to keep the rain out as I do not have a self draining cockpit.
On the other hand I want to bring all halyards and reefing lines etc, back to the cockpit for single handed sailing so there may not be the need for going forward apart from anchoring and mooring and the fore hatch can be used for that.
Mean while I have made a removable saloon table and with a small modification I think it can also be used in the cockpit which would be an added bonus for when the sun shines !
The next job is to get some antifouling primer on and at least one coat of antifouling and finish painting the topsides before the winter sets in. I can then concentrate on work inside the boat. The sink unit has to be fitted together with the plumbing. The cooker has to be installed and the gas supply sorted out. Although the wiring for the lights has been completed and cables run for the instruments, Nav lights, GPS, Auto helm etc, they have yet to be installed and connected up coupled with any through deck electrical connections for the mast and Auto helm and the like. The end is in sight!!!!
The middle of November and I have experienced two and a half frustrating months. The hull below the waterline was given the recommended four coats of metallic primer followed by two coats of anti foul primer and one coat of anti foul. The final coat of anti foul will be applied a week before launching.
The topsides were given two coats of white undercoat. I was not at all happy with the fairness of the hull as the white paint showed up all the high spots and hollows to an alarming degree. White gloss topcoat would show it up even more. I decided that I would have to go back to old way of fairing in a hull by applying a trowel on filler. Having contacted all the U.K marine paint manufacturers who used to make this product they all replied that with the advent of plastic hulls there was no longer a call for it so they ceased production. Back to the drawing board. One manufacturer produced a filler for filling screw holes and paint cracks etc. so I purchased a small quantity, thinned it down slightly with white spirit and trowelled it on and left it to dry. I went back to the boat the next morning to find that most of it had flaked off. There was no option other than to remove the rest of it before that fell off. I applied a further two coats of under coat to get to back where I started.
A chance conversation with a wooden boat owner at the yard said why don't you use what I use, Jotun High Fill undercoat. I logged on to Jotuns web site and found the nearest distributor. Discussed my needs with them and yes they stocked it, so I bought a tin and it duly arrived. It was a two pack epoxy paint. Not what I had asked for as you can not apply epoxy paint to alkyd based paints. The solvents are not compatible. I phoned the supplier and told them that they had sent the wrong paint and explained again why it had to be a single pack paint as I was applying it to an alkyd based undercoat. Reply :- A lot of people use two pack paints on wooden boats, You asked for a High Fill undercoat that is what we sent you. Me :- Yes, if they are starting off with a bare hull. My hull has been primed and undercoated with a conventional alkyd based primer and undercoat as I explained to you when I ordered it. Reply :- Well, take the hull back to bare wood then. Me :- Wouldn't it be easier for both of us if you changed it for a tin of alkyd based paint? reply :- No, because they don't make it any more !. End of story.
Meanwhile I had experimented with thickening up Prekote undercoat with colloidal silica, the substance used for thickening epoxy resin glues, and put a couple of coats on a piece of scrap painted wood and left it to dry, I then sanded it down and the result was quite impressive, it adhered to the old paint very well and didn't chip or flake at the edges. I shall try it on the hull but only on a small area to start with. The hollows will probably require two or three coats to get sufficient depth and then when hard fair it in. Fingers crossed !!
The sink unit has been fitted and plumbed in. Even that simple job did not go to plan. I decided that I would use a Flipper pump and install an inline filter system which could be renewed every year and I would use a semi rigid pipe system which used push on connectors to facilitate the ease of changing the filter. All of these components are manufactured by a well known British manufacturer. The hose connection to the Flipper pump is 15mm dia. The hose connection to the filter is 12mm. The first question I asked myself, WHY? They manufacture both 15mm and 12mm pipe. Back to the ever faithful internet.
Access the manufacturer's web side and discover they produce a whole raft of connectors and reducers. No problem, list the connectors and reducers that I require. I take the list to my local chandler on a Monday morning who kindly orders them from his supplier with the promise that they would be in on Friday. Friday arrives - no parts. Supplier wants to know where I got the part numbers from. Chandler calls supplier and tells them from the manufacturers catalogue as published on their web site.
No problem they will be with you on Friday. Call in on Friday only three parts have arrived of the six I ordered. Problem! The right part numbers were on the packet but the wrong parts were in the packets. Chandler decides to go to supplier and sort out the problem. I call back in later. Supplier out of stock on three items has ordered from manufacturer. Long conversation about wrong parts in right packets. Supplier will sort it out. All parts will be delivered next Friday. I call in on the due day. Good, six packets appear on the counter. All the correct part numbers I ordered. All the wrong components in the right packets! To cut a long story short, apparently the manufacturer moved his manufacturing plant abroad and as a result has a warehouse full of parts all incorrectly labelled. I cancelled my order and did the plumbing a different way. I rest my case about British industry.
The gas hob and grill unit has also been installed and the gas supply connected up but not yet tested for leaks. I have some fine tuning to do here. The unit was the smallest I could find on the market and is a tight squeeze in the available space. The height from the top of the hob to the deck head is spot on the minimum height recommended by the manufacturers.
Not a completely satisfactory arrangement but will have to suffice. The gimbal bush mounted on the after bulkhead has not been drilled deep enough and the hole for the flexible hose in the base needs enlarging to reduce the friction. I may have a problem here because I turned a raised wooden up stand to prevent any spillage going down the hole on to the berth cushion below and I do not know at the moment how much I can enlarge the hole. The whole assembly will have to be removed and sorted out.
I toyed with the idea of fitting plastic boxes under the saloon berths to keep the contents dry as they are partly in the bilges. I suppose it was asking a lot to find boxes the right size. Finally I made four boxes 28 inches long by 14 inches wide by 8 inches deep from 9mm marine ply. The outsides were epoxied and the insides varnished. They rested on the bottom and the tops trimmed flush with the underside of the berth boards and screwed along the top side to the berth bearer. There is now a considerable amount of dry storage space in the boat which it did not have before.
The middle of May 2005 and not a lot seems to have been achieved so far this year. I spent four weeks in Singapore visiting my son and family and to get away from the vaguaries of the English winter. Having acclimatised myself to a temperature of 35 deg.C for those few weeks it was a shock to the system to come back to 5 deg.C. and have to work in conditions of cold and wet northerly winds.
The first job was to remove all of the side curtains which had been torn to shreds yet again, and get all the scaffolding removed from around the boat. Both I and the boat were then very much exposed to the elements with no protection from the weather what so ever. I decided to cover the boat completely with a plastic tarpaulin and sit the weather out.
It was mid April before there was any radical improvement enabling me to start work again.
I have one or two odd jobs to complete in the saloon and fore cabin which can be done when the boat is afloat. The main job is to run the power cables for the tricolour and steaming light and the radio antenna. Patterns have been made for the berth cushions but not yet ordered.
It was time to sort out the rig.
To be continued....