Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Anchor stowage

The end is in sight... Stem head and pulpit bases are done.  The boat needs a darn good clean but it's pretty much ready to go back in the water.
I have always struggled to find a good way to secure the anchor.  I've seen all sorts of blocks and bits which bolt to the foredeck but not really that great.  I've had it tied the rail, wedged around the cleat and wedged on the toe rail.  At best it's been in the way, at worst it dropped off and the boat did a handbrake turn. :)
In a splash of inspiration I realised what I needed to do.  I attached a couple of deck eyes by the toe rail, tied a slack line between the two. This line drops over the anchor and the shank is pulled back to secure it.

I initially thought I'd tie it back to the pulpit base but then came up with this natty idea.   I cut a block of mahogany with a slot to accept the shank and fitted a deck eye to one side and a cleat to the other.  A line is then attached to the deck eye, looped around anchor and led back to the cleat to put a pull on it.  Seems to work a treat and no excess line to trip over. 
The other little job I did this evening was to put a couple of cleats in the boom, one each side to help with reefing. Just need to get her in the water now.

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Stem head fitting (nearly) done.

I finally found time to catch up with Brian to weld on the tang for my stem head fitting.   The prep worked well, I'd shaped the tang and made measurements to help with positioning.   Not quite so easy when the boat is several miles away and you can't keep nipping out to check.

The assembly fitted perfectly, without needing any further adjustments.  It is currently sitting on a bed of sealer and will be tightened down properly during the week. I aslo rebedded the chain howser, which had been removed to repair the interdeck packing.

The tang is bolted through the hull, it will need penny washers behind the nuts.  The top bolt will have to have the nut encapsulated in the GRP. The GRP in this pointy bit is very very thick and the drilled hole would not emerge on the inside so I had to drill in from the inside to intercept the hole. 
I used WD40 and gritty hand wipes to clean the sealer off the surrounding surfaces.  Seemed to work quite well.

I may replace these bolts with slotted pan heads to improve the appearance... These could really do some damage in a collision.  In other news I cut some hard wood to fit in to the recess below the pulpit bases.  These are held in place with a Resin and Micro fibre mix.  I haven't encapsulated them as this just seems to make wood rot.  I need to get some longer bolts and some nice big penny washers to finish this bit.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Anti foul on

The trouble with having the boat on the front lawn is that it is a constant reminder of the jobs which need doing.   From my very first cup of coffee today is was screaming 'paint me' through the front window. 

So as soon as the day job had been put to bed out came the gloves, overalls and brushes.

A couple of hours later and it was done.   Of the essential jobs left to do it's just the stem head to finish.  I will then start looking to see what else can be done quickly before she goes in.

Sunday, 19 April 2015

Slowly creeping towards the water

So today I managed to complete one of the jobs, and made some steady progress on the other two

Trial fitted to check clamp.
The tiller bracket is now finished.  My kind neighbour has an extensive workshop and was able to bore the 25mm hole in the Ali bar. He also has a donkey saw so made short work of cutting the bar to length and putting the slot in for the clamp. 

I brought it back home and drilled the hole for the pivot and drilled & tapped the holes for the clamp. 

Block rounded off and spacers fitted.
Last but not least I rounded off the rear top edge to allow the tiller to raise and also made some spacer washers.  These were made from the chopping board which I'd bought to repair the stem head. I used a hole saw to make the spacers, drilling out the centre to suit and then rasped to thickness. 

On to the stem head fitting, last night I  had mixed up plenty of epoxy mixed with milled glass fibre and filled the voids before bonding the chopping board repair in place. 
Kitchen chopping board used as backing pad

Today I filleted the edges and covered with two layers of CSM. I will put another couple of layers on tomorrow. 

Oh, it looks better than this in real life :)
Also raising its ugly head was the state of the sandwiched wood just visible in the chain hawser. This got a good gauging out and filled with a resin and micro fibre mix. This will need tidying and painting tomorrow. 
Onto the antifoul, I wire brushed it to get rid of the chalkiness, then masked up the hull and applied some primer to the areas which had struggled for adhesion. The anti foul will go on during the week.  
That will be all the essentials done and so hopefully she'll be launched next weekend. 

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Multi tool magic

I've had some good advice over this stem head problem.. The first was to get hold of multi-tool to cut out the debris.  This was inspired, thanks Aonghas.  John had a Bosch tool which he lent me, I was so impressed I'll go and buy one today.

I wasn't looking forward to gouging out the rest of the wood but with this it took about 20 minutes and left everything neat.  The tool comes with a selection of blades, I used a wood cutting blade which was about an inch wide and was easy to get into just about any position.  Anyway, happy with the job I returned the tool.

What did surprise me was the voids which had obviously been there since manufacture.  I dropped some bolts in through the two front screw holes  to see where I would have to add the pad material.   Back inside the boat I couldn't see them?  It would seem that this pad has been replaced before, in the picture above there is filler in the gap.  Behind that filler is the even more soggy remains of the original pad.
Having returned the multi-tool I resorted to using the drill as a mill and soon had this void open and cleaned out. The wood which came out of here had the consistency of soup. 
I have ordered a 3mm x 25mm x 300mm 316 stainless steel bar to make the tang out of and I shall pick up some chopping board today.   I'm feeling much better about this part of the project now, I was worried it would be a major problem but it starting to look a little less daunting.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Two steps forward and one giant leap backwards

Argh!  This sailing lark is like a slippery game of snakes and ladders.   Just when I was starting to feel like I was making progress I 've made a shocking discovery.

Fitting held with 6 bolts and 2 screws
 I had a look at the stem head fitting which I knew needed bedding down.   I had assumed that the nuts on the forward two bolts were loose in the GRP and would not start on the thread or were maybe just spinning in the GRP.  Before ripping into the GRP with a Dremel I decided to take the bolts out, just incase they were very short and needed swapping with another pair.  That was clearly wishful thinking.    The bolts turned out to be screws which made me think that maybe the encapsulated pad had rotted.

Plywood pad just a soggy mess
 Had it ever... I'd expected to see a soggy hard wood block, Oh no; A super soggy plywood backing pad which is a bugger to get out.  I say 'is' because I still have a load of clearing out to do.

Difficult to access

One of the problems is where this piece is.  It is in the most awkward part of the boat to get to.  It means that while working my arms are out stretched, I can't see and swinging a hammer is nigh on impossible.  As I wielded the crowbar I had Rory Gallagher's 'Brute Force & Ignorance' going through my head.
In terms of learnings I guess a little tip I could pass on is how I broke this out.  It's too confind to get into with an angle grinder and the Dremel is not man enough.  I was able to cut across the front edge (or is that rear?) with a thin cutting disc in the angle grinder but after trying allsorts of ways to cut along the edges I found a sharp 10mm drillused like a mill, running back and forth along the fillet eventually weakened it enough to knock it out with the crowbar.
I need to clear all the debris out before committing to a plan to put it back together, I have a few thoughts how to go about it... One of my earlier darker thoughts involved some thinners and a zippo :)

Sunday, 12 April 2015

Rudder finished and some other bits.

Well the rudder and tube is finally finished and fitted.  I'm really happy with it, It's pretty substantial and should last the daily dry out.  Yes Ciao Bella's mooring only dries once as there is a high water stand in Poole.

The tube components were bedded in sealant, left to cure and then tightened up.  The nut has plenty of thread locker on it and the whole lot has been splodged over with primer and will be anti fouled.. I don't see this nut shaking loose, and even if it does it can't go anywhere.

I spent far too long knocking up this box, I could have had the anti foul on in the time it took to do this.  Never mind, it is something I've wanted to do since the first time I took crew on-board and watched them kick the compass off the bulkhead :)

It is shaped to be able to slip under the compass while it is fitted.  The base is raised to allow water to get under and reach the scuppers.  It needs some channels opening at the base to allow a good flow to the scupper,  a bit of sanding / linishing and finally coating with something... Not sure whether varish or paint yet.
Anyway I will be nice to have somewhere to drop a bottle of drink, sandwiches, phone or anything else which ends up rattling around the deck while out and about.

Other news... The stem head fitting has been tightened down but the forward two bolts just spin.  The nuts are encapsulated under the deck so will need digging and then making good again.
I have been looking out for some jib winches to replace the old tufnol ones with the built in handles.  Nothing has come up at a reasonable price so I have serviced these ones and pressed them back into service.
Disappointingly the varnish over the epoxy on the locker lids has refused to cure and needs removing.. Ho hum.

Left to do...

  • Make tiller bracket.
  • Anti foul.
  • Stem head fitting.
Lots of other stuff to do but these are the essentials.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

A busy weekend but not so much on Ciao Bella.

Friday and Saturday had me tied up with duties at the sailing club, I make it sound like a chore, it really wasn't.   We are applying for funding to get two dinghies for club members to use.  We had the opportunity to borrow some dinghies from Laser, Topper and RS.  Despite the water temperature in April I was more than happy to don my shorty wet suit and spend the two days trying them out and ensuring members where able to get out in them if they wanted.
Topper Argo and Laser Bahia
 The option are Topper Argo, Laser Bahia or RS Vision.  They are all great fun but my favuorite  was the Topper.  It seemed to be the best all rounder.  The RS Vision was great but a bit tippy, the Laser Bahia was a fabulous family boat, it would carry 5 people but felt a bit to big and heavy for one or two people to use.  The Argo seemed stable, room enough for three adults and also able to put a smile on your face.  It comes with a spinnaker but I didn't get involved in all that :)

Three men in a boat - Even the RS Vision was good for three adults.
 Meanwhile back at Ciao Bella it was time to crack on and do a bit.   The  rudder blade needed epoxy and chopped / milled glass pushing into the gaps to seal the ends where the stock sticks out and another layer of epoxy over the repaired areas. When it is fully cured I will rub it down and paint it before refitting it.

 Not something I've done today but while I was on the subject of rudders I thought I'd share the rebuilt somewhat robust lower pintle.  This has been made with a piece of the rudder tube, my favorite Lancastrian (You should have heard the grief I got for calling him a Yorkshire man)  welded it up for me a week or so back.

I forgot to take some before pictures of the cockpit locker lids but here they are after first two coats of epoxy.  The first coat was a little blotchy but it soon glossed up with the second coat.  They will need a final coat before getting a few coats of varnish to protect from the UV, 
 The undersides will need doing as well, there is a bit of rot underneath but that can be dug out and filled with an epoxy mix.  The underside will be painted rather than varnish.

Now for a bit of blatant product placement :)  I have used Oxalic for cleaning the hull before but Roger had kindly donated some Silky Marine bright for me to try.  It is a premixed ready to use Oxalic mix suspended in a gel so it doesn't just run off the boat.
 As you can see from the photos the staining on Ciao Bella is quite bad.  Before hearing about Oxalic for cleaning I'd tried all kinds of cleaner and nothing touches these stains.

 The gel brushes on easily stays put,  I agitate the gel on the worst bits as per the instructions, left it for thirty minutes then washed off before having a final wash with normal car wash and wax.  She's starting to look loved again.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Masthead lamp

The weather, although not exact raining, is damp and not ideal for epoxy. I decided to have a go at the masthead lamp. I know I'm setting myself up for disappointment but Hayho. 
First I needed to decide where to mount it.  The instructions come with a guide to angle of spread and lux %. For the height.
Out came the calculator and some trigonometry revision. Anything over 5m from the deck would give me a pool of light to cover the deck and into the water. Should help with late night mooring exploits. 

I sealed everything I could with RTV sealant and mounted the unit on the mast with rivets.  The old lamp cable was still good so I just pulled that through before starting. 
I soldered all the connections within the unit to keep the moisture out and maintain good conductivity. 

The unit is mounted and sealed. The deck light part is open to the elements,  I haven't time to faff with this so I'll just have to see how it goes. 
  1. Epoxy and paint rudder blade.
  2. Make tiller bracket. (I have material, waiting for a friend to bore a 25mm hole in it).
  3. Epoxy seal and varnish the bench hatches.
  4. Fit Masthead light.- Done. 
  5. Stem head fitting needs removing and rebedding.
  6. Clean hull and Antifoul.