Petestack Blog

7 April 2019

Speakers’ corner(s)

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 9:45 pm

Twig was here today, so we started with the tricky two-man job (one to hold and one to do!) of fitting my speaker boxes, and what a satisfying result after the three-month gestation of these things:

Might add that they work too, as tested with the new batteries also going in and America from West Side Story filling the boat from the first station we tuned in to (NB that’s the newly-fitted VHF, and not the stereo, whose heatsink you can see protruding through the bulkhead to its left, in the second shot):

While the eagle-eyed might also notice the new barometer, reinstalled grab handles and completion of the fixings for the lining panels, the most significant other thing achieved this weekend was my tuning the fit yesterday morning for the porthole rings, which now just require varnishing on their visible faces before permanent installation:

6 April 2019

Fly refit interim index

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 8:19 pm

Having found myself frequently referring back to my own blog posts about Fly’s refit and knowing that many friends and fellow boat owners have been following with interest, it’s just occurred to me to create an index of all the refit posts as a useful resource you/we may find doubly useful in conjunction with the blog’s search function. So here it is in ‘interim’ form at least, with thoughts of a ‘final’ version and editing this one to link to that when she goes back in the water in (I’m guessing) May or June this year. For those unacquainted with the story, it’s been an initially sporadic but latterly concentrated total refit following the 2009 discovery of serious internal water damage while laid up ashore since late 2005, with things both within and without my control to blame for the obvious hiatuses but nothing stopping me now!

Not planning to keep updating the interim index for new posts, but you should be able to find these easily enough at http://www.petestack.com/blog/category/sailing till the final index comes out and my ‘sailing’ category finally becomes more sailing (on my own boat again!) than refitting…

  1. Getting back to Fly (26 September 2010)
    Alkathene tarpaulin frame.
  2. Undercover Fly (18 October 2010)
    First tarpaulin.
  3. Clearing the decks (27 February 2011)
    ‘removing just about everything that moves’
  4. Messing about in boat (5 March 2011)
    New forehatch in, lots more out.
  5. Gralloched Impala! (5 May 2011)
    ‘another day spent gutting the boat’
  6. Marine diesels and Munro tops (4 June 2011)
    ‘combining a trip to Dingwall to take Fly’s engine to Brae Classics for blasting and repainting with a run over Ben Wyvis’
  7. Back to Fly again (22 October 2015)
    Preparing for new windows.
  8. Fly has windows! (9 March 2016)
    New windows in.
  9. Stripping paint (2 August 2017)
    Serious refit starts at last with 100+ hours main cabin paint stripping a year after we finally get the boat dry but my June 2016 shed fire throws a very big spanner in the works.
  10. Stripping slime (3 August 2017)
    ‘took the pressure washer to her decks and topsides’
  11. Not well in the bow well (5 August 2017)
    ‘unwelcome discovery of rot in the floor and aft wall of the bow well’
  12. Destruction for construction (8 August 2017)
    Cutting out the remainder of the main bunk tops.
  13. Forecabin fun (12 August 2017)
    Stripping forecabin paint and testing water tank shapes.
  14. Good tarps and bad tarps (18 August 2017)
    ‘a proper little roof to allow work with the main hatch open any day and shed snow if I leave it up’
  15. Constructing again! (22 August 2017)
    New bunk tops in.
  16. More taking apart and putting together (20 October 2017)
    Starting to build an integral water tank, more rotting wood in the cockpit locker false floor and removing the companionway bulkhead facing.
  17. Bow well cover (29 October 2017)
    ‘so we’ve got shelter to get it dry and sort the problems’
  18. Constructive progress (21 November 2017)
    Water tank construction, epoxy coating main cabin hull surfaces and eliminating paths for water ingress to the bow well plywood.
  19. Easter Fly (9 April 2018)
    Bow well repairs and forecabin epoxy coating.
  20. Galley slaves (15 April 2018)
    Rebuilding the galley from old and new parts.
  21. Working after work (24 April 2018)
    More paint/varnish stripping and priming.
  22. Doing and undoing (30 April 2018)
    Varnishing, undercoating, new nav. station bulkhead and planning an integral cool box.
  23. Just doing (10 May 2018)
    More nav. station (including testing chart table fit), galley and varnishing.
  24. Two-man relay team? (15 May 2018)
    ‘nav. shelf fitting and cool box construction done by Twig mostly when I wasn’t here’
  25. The Cell of ‘Little Ease’ (27 May 2018)
    More painting and varnishing including the (awkward!) heads compartment.
  26. Sub-cockpit grovelling (10 June 2018)
    Stripping bunk-foot lockers for repainting and remaining galley paint/varnish stripping.
  27. Bunk-foot lockers (19 July 2018)
    Preparing and painting more awkward woodwork.
  28. Forecabin deckhead (29 July 2018)
    More paint and glue stripping…
  29. Main hatch (31 July 2018)
    And yet more!
  30. Cockpit locker false floor (1 August 2018)
    ‘cut out the starboard locker’s plywood false floor identified last October as rotten, non-structural and surplus to requirements’
  31. What I’ve learned about nylon brushes (2 August 2018)
    ‘Nylon brush summary [for paint stripping with electric drill] from one year and hundreds of hours use’
  32. Cavernous hellholes of peeling paint (8 August 2018)
    ‘one week and approximately 41 hours of work’ stripping the cockpit lockers.
  33. Jigsaw pieces (12 August 2018)
    ‘progress with the chart table and forecabin bunk boards’
  34. Two-month summary (21 October 2018)
    Mast step rebuild, galley, water tank and seacock renovation.
  35. No-photo report (with photos) (25 November 2018)
    Quick summary of stuff you can’t see, with a few pics of stuff you can!
  36. Two months’ work in twenty photos (26 December 2018)
    New (Jabsco) marine toilet, water pump, filler, chart table support block, switch panels, wiring, heads window and teak rings for heads door handle, as well as chart table progress, starting internal hull lining and cleaning the engine bay.
  37. Flying into 2019 (1 January 2019)
    Engine back in, new Vetus mushroom vents, painting (priming) the areas of deckhead where light would otherwise bleed through lining carpet, new stereo, planning custom speaker enclosures, battery box restoration and cleaning/recoating exposed areas of keelbolts and plates.
  38. More bits and pieces (13 January 2019)
    Battery box back in, minor tiller repair, chart table body and lid back together, and preparing for new Treadmaster in forecabin and heads.
  39. Things right and not right (27 January 2019)
    Heads and forecabin linings, and companionway bulkhead facing back in.
  40. Two weekends, one photo (10 February 2019)
    Prototype speaker enclosures and other bits and pieces.
  41. Things to see or just talk about (10 March 2019)
    Headlining panels, new spacer disks for pilot berth hanger eyes, porthole liners for companionway bulkhead and building the final speaker enclosures.
  42. Tricky stuff (17 March 2019)
    New mount for top galley door track, chart table leg and trim for speaker enclosures.
  43. Trim on (24 March 2019)
    Refitting the galley doors and starting to tidy awkward edges of lining carpet.
  44. Four weeks solo (5 April 2019)
    Refitting the galley pole, lots more carpet trim and cleaning/oiling the washboard rails.

5 April 2019

Four weeks solo

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 10:42 pm

Think I’ve been working alone weekends and evenings for four weeks now while Twig’s been busy with other things but, while some outstanding tasks still require both of us and/or his expertise, this also means I’ve had the run of the boat to get other stuff done without us getting in each other’s way. And, since I’m now both on Easter holiday with plans for a concentrated push and expecting him here tomorrow, tonight seems a good time to sum up my remaining recent solo work…

To start with refitting the galley pole, this was mocked up with scrap plywood to establish trimming lengths, angles etc. to get everything as tidy as possible, meaning not quite perfect (so what is?) but where it wants to go and as good as it gets without moving the existing immovable top socket! The two lines just about visible on the top piece of plywood in the second photo are measuring the supposed slope of the top cut, with another line in the fourth photo marking the height of the bulkhead hole. It was necessary to trim the top to get the holes through pole and bulkhead to line up properly, hence the thin packing piece at the bottom which has since been replaced by a purpose-made socket block:

And here’s said block (right) along with another (left) I made for the chart table table leg with some further pics of the finally fitted pole. So the block’s epoxied in and will need chiselling apart if I ever need the pole out again, but I’m OK with that because it’s both secure and destroyable if absolutely necessary, and the deckhead lining panel can be dropped down the pole without removing anything:

Another completed epoxy job you can’t see here except in passing (last two photos above) because I’ve not specifically photographed it was stripping and coating the backs of the bunk fiddles, which had been on my to-do list for a long time but finally got done because it had to be prior to affixing these new blocks. But I’ve not glued the socket for the chart table leg yet because we’ve still to fit the correct spacers either side of the table before I can mark its precise fore-and-aft position.

Most of what I’ve still got to show here is trim, trim and more trim, with tidying up of lining carpet rough edges and/or securing of loose ones taking much Evo-Stik, acetone (mainly for cleaning fingers to avoid transferring more glue than absolutely necessary to the wrong places!) and patience to accomplish. What you see is by no means perfect but, with few second chances to position or adjust anything, I’m happy enough with it overall:

Finally (for now!), here’s a single not-so-helpfully-lit photo of the washboard rails cleaned and treated with umpteen coats of Deks Olje D.1, but think I still got umpteen more on (or rather in?) the next day after finding it still ‘active’ (i.e. wet-on-wet). The hatch rails have also been cleaned (pending repair of one) for oiling along with the tiller and (still to make) helmsman’s footrests and mainsheet traveller support blocks, but these are all I’ve got finished so far:

24 March 2019

Trim on

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 9:33 pm

A slightly artsy title here (both punning and recalling instructions to racing crew), as well as not completely true when nothing like all the trim’s on yet, but perhaps marginally better than ‘More Tricky Stuff’, which was all I could otherwise think of…

Finishing things properly takes time! Most of what I’ve been doing here (and continue to do) requires as much thought as doing, with the consequences of mistakes potentially spoiling things rather than icing the cake. Take the tracks for the galley doors, for example; I’d glued the bottom track to line up with the shelf edge trim, then took it off and pushed it back to the fiddle before taking it off again for a complete dry fit with top/bottom tracks and plywood props in lieu of doors that finally told me where it needed to go:

So my third and final attempt to fix the bottom track set it against the fiddle at the aft (right) end but spaced to a constant distance from the shelf edge (not quite parallel with the fiddle) using a piece of 4mm ply as a kind of feeler gauge to replicate the dry fit:

And this was what I wanted despite leaving a wedge-shaped sliver of space between track and fiddle that I’d like to fill with something. But I still had to get my (now finished and varnished) shaped wood strip on right and trim the galley doors to fit, so two more fiddly and quite nerve-wracking procedures to replicate what’s easy to mock up with no screws, glue or irreversible cutting. And I’m happy with the result although still considering a couple of things (probably some quality double-sided tape to fix the top track which is currently just a snug push fit in its mounting strip, and maybe trimming the edge of the left-hand door where the main bulkhead’s not quite square, but not rushing into that when it would be so easy to spoil it and I can also think of reasons not to do it!):

I’d been planning since we lined the forecabin to trim the exposed, difficult-to-finish-neatly, bottom edges of carpet with webbing tape, but couldn’t be sure how that would go till I tried. And the answer is OK, but it takes time and eats Evo-Stik! Which isn’t that easy to spread economically on narrow porous surfaces you want to cover but not overrun (the spray glue used for most of the linings goes far further but is less practical here as well as less good for really firm edging), with my 250ml tin virtually disappearing between gluing down some obvious loose edges and fixing my tape, but I’m both relieved and pleased with a job well done and have another two 500ml tins on the way assuming that’s more than enough for everything I’ve still to do:

Might add that I’ve also been busy with other ‘little’ things you don’t see here, but have neither photos to show nor motivation to explain everything; there are other small wood parts taking shape and/or being varnished, screws on order where I don’t have quite all the ones I need to fix them all and, well, just more than enough going on to keep my head spinning and dominate my ‘free’ time! ;-)

17 March 2019

Tricky stuff

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 9:57 pm

While I’ve spent many hours (most weekday evenings and all weekend) on Fly since last weekend’s blog, more of that time’s probably been spent thinking through tricky stuff and making sure I get it right than actually doing. So no prizes for speed with what you’re about to see, but still considerable satisfaction on not only avoiding most of the potential banana skins but also making a good job of some tricky parts…

Let’s start with my new mount for Fly’s top galley door track, which brings the tracks properly parallel by allowing for deck rise and camber when the standard method of fixing doesn’t. To do this I had to establish both angles and cut some test pieces to try in place, knocking up a taper jig for the table saw along the way and working out how to cut the angles for rise (about 10mm over the galley width) and camber (6° rather than the 10° you see set up in the first two photos) in separate passes because the saw blade tilts the wrong way to do both together, but happy to say I’ve got this piece dead right:

Next (well, not actually next because I also made some other small parts you don’t see here) we come to my folding leg for the folding chart table, which looks so simple when done, but isn’t because you have to consider:

  • What length should it be to keep the table true when you’re working with one corner unsupported?
  • Where should it meet the bunk top fore and aft and where should it be attached to the table to keep it vertical in both planes?
  • Is it going to be strong enough (fit for purpose) both in itself and how it’s attached?
  • Will it fold up neatly out of the way?
  • What happens if someone knocks it from an unexpected direction?
  • How do you hold all of this where you want it to jig it up for drilling?
  • And did you get it right?

Now, what you see here isn’t quite finished because it still needs corners rounding, varnishing, a longer bolt, penny washer between leg and table, and a locating socket bonded to the bunk top, but I think I did OK:

Two more things worth noting about the chart table before I forget are that 1. I’ve fitted my final choice of catches (toggle latches from China as the most attractive and size-appropriate option turned up by hours of Googling), and 2. I can’t remember whether we’d previously noted that the new lower nav. shelf restricts the lid opening angle to c.45°, but it doesn’t really matter because that’s probably far enough anyway and we can get quite a lot more by chamfering the bottom of its edge piece if necessary!

And so to yet more speaker enclosure tweaks. I wanted to add cosmetic trim pieces (same way I still plan to finish most visible lining edges) to the corners between coachroof sides and main bulkhead to cover the port-side wires and some over-neat starboard-side finishing, which wasn’t difficult at all:

But then had to tweak the outside bottom corners of the speaker boxes to fit the trim, which could so easily have resulted in messing them up now, but didn’t:

And that’s about it for now, except to show you bottom galley track fixing, take two, where take one had assumed I needed to fix the track as far out as possible for vertical doors to clear the top shelf at the main bulkhead end, but I’d not liked what I got so reevaluated carefully:

10 March 2019

Things to see or just talk about

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 8:57 pm

Quite a lot happening to Fly since my last blog, but it’s not all on camera yet so there’s some you can see and some we can just talk about…

Two weekends ago we got all but one of the new headlining panels done and most of them up, but only one covered outside before the Saturday rain drove us inside to work in more awkward conditions (NB old panel standing up and new one flat on the ground):

So the following four photos come from the Sunday (24 February), when we were able to take the glue spraying back outside (note the mix of old and new panels again):

And here are the main cabin panels in place (most of the others only went up this weekend):

Also happy to note that the new panels are much lighter than the old, with some of the saving coming from slightly thinner ply (3.5mm instead of 4mm), but the bulk of it from the new lining carpet being significantly lighter than the old ‘mousse’.

Before fitting the new panels we also reseated the six coach bolts for the pilot berth hanger eyes, replacing the suffering original plywood spacer disks with more robust plastic ones I made weeks (or maybe even months!) ago:

My made-to-measure porthole liners (from Midland Chandlers) for the companionway bulkhead have arrived and are going to look great, but still await varnishing and fitting:

Last weekend I was on my own with only one full day available, so got stuck into building the speaker enclosures I’d previously prototyped with the jig I’d built (and now fine-tuned with thicknesses of tape) after learning from that experience. Which, despite now knowing how to get things right and not mess them up, I’d guess still consisted of about 90% thinking to 10% doing as I planned my cuts from a single, small, and very finite, piece of reclaimed teak-faced ply and so on:

These then got attachment brackets (lugs?) added and their backs epoxied (for speed over varnish) before applying multiple coats of varnish to the outsides over the past few mornings and evenings:

Leaving just some clever carpet trim (seen here testing on one of the prototypes) required to ensure the best possible fit to the boat when there are various issues (e.g. my 30° front panels crossing the main bulkhead tabs at half height) conspiring against perfection even after careful adjustment from the prototypes:

But, as suggested by my blog title and opening paragraph, there’s plenty more been happening you can’t see here because I’ve not got it all photographed yet… like all the new deckhead panels (including the heads, which never had one before) and interior lights (finished today) in place. Some mild frustrations this weekend because I was necessarily limited in what I could do while Twig got wired in to testing electrics etc., but I did get the bottom track for the sliding galley doors back in, and have a lengthy list of small wood parts to make and tidying up jobs (lining trim edging etc.) to do while I’m on my own:

[Edit, 12 March 2019: took that galley track back off tonight to redo after changing my mind about its best alignment, but no problems doing so when it was stuck down with contact adhesive.]

19 February 2019

Long weekend progress

Filed under: Running,Sailing — admin @ 9:07 pm

It’s half-term weekend, so I’ve had Monday and Tuesday off school and four days to work on Fly, with Twig joining me for three of these. Already struggling to remember exactly what we got done on Saturday, but think we played a little with my table saw set-up before mounting the heater exhaust outlet fitting and spending most time on the fiddly task of templating and cutting the Treadmaster for the heads and forecabin. Then I took the chance to join Glencoe Hill Runners’ ‘Two Lairigs’ run on Sunday before returning to finish preparing the Treadmaster bonding surfaces before we stuck the stuff down yesterday (note the advanced holding-down technology!):

After Twig left yesterday, I built my jig for the final speaker enclosures, which you see first taking shape last night then demonstrating usage this morning with the better of the two practice pieces I made without it and my original cardboard template. Yes, it’s only a jig, but get this right (which I have!) and the otherwise tricky glue-up I struggled with on my practice versions becomes child’s play:

We also put much effort into the heater installation yesterday and today, but I’ve just a solitary photo to show because we left one part bonding (the air intake where it goes through the aft bulkhead) I couldn’t risk disturbing through getting too close or diving into the cockpit locker:

At some stage we got the starboard compass refitted to match the port one done last weekend (both showing dark here because the outside covers are on):

And we finished up today by making the first four replacement deckhead panels and PVA-coating them ready for lining carpet (still another five to make, with the smallest – for the heads – being a new addition rather than replacing an older one):

10 February 2019

Two weekends, one photo

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 6:49 pm

Not much to see here, but winter Fly work continues…

A fortnight ago, worn down by weeks of long phone calls trying to resolve luckless issues with new mobile and broadband contracts, I took the whole weekend off and nothing got done. But Twig was here last Friday (delivering plywood in the snow!), Saturday and Sunday as well as Wednesday, and I’ve been working on my own this Friday, Saturday and Sunday to keep making modest progress. Twig’s got more wiring and stuff fitted as well as the heater pump and water tank vent, and we also got the fuel tank and port steering compass back in while we were both here.

So my work this weekend started on Friday afternoon and Saturday morning with a practice run at my speaker enclosures, and testing my plans with scrap ply proved a wise move when mistakes were made (don’t cut out the line for the speaker outer flange!) and lessons learned (like build a wee jig to get things clamped more accurately for the final glue-up). Need to cut the holes fractionally bigger because the speakers won’t quite sit all the way down, but think I can now make a good job of the real ones, which will also be epoxied together rather than Gorilla-Glued (done for speed here):

Other small achievements this weekend include more filling and sanding in the heads and forecabin (now ready for Treadmaster pending a little more sanding on Monday or Tuesday evening), shimming the insert on my table saw to get it just where I want it, tidying the workshop yet again, measuring/templating/drawing the shape required for a custom protective strip across the bottom of the companionway, extracting the mains cables from the starboard compass cutout and getting the compass cleaned so we can refit that one too. It doesn’t sound a lot, but even ‘little’ things take time and add up. Oh, and it seems any bright, low-angle light (February sun this side of Kinlochleven!) can get through the topsides carpet lining, so it’s not just in snow (which is now away)!

27 January 2019

Things right and not right

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 12:12 pm

Last weekend Twig and I got some tricky Fly jobs done in lining the parts of heads, forecabin and coachroof where the liner’s stuck directly on (there are removable panels elsewhere) then refitting the companionway bulkhead facing, and were quite relieved to get through this lot with things looking good and no major mishaps. But some things turned out to be not quite so right when I returned in Tuesday’s snow to take the photos…

The heads and forecabin linings are fine when fitting and gluing the carpet to these tricky 3D shapes could so easily have gone wrong, but note that the edge above the heads door isn’t finished yet:

There was a small damp patch below the bottom right corner of the heads window (see the darker patch there?) that needs checking out because it’s a new window:

And you can see bright light off the snow getting through the topsides carpet (like the deckhead problem we resolved by painting first) to the lower left. So, while not planning to sail the boat through snow (!), I may still have to put up with some of this for summer sailing till I get the (exterior) topsides painted?

The bulkhead facing looks great in the photos but, despite two machine screws through the grab handle holes to line it up, is now firmly bonded a couple of millimetres below where it used to be. Not the end of the world, but still needing some thought in places. And, for those who’ve seen the cut on my forehead this week, the clamp to the left in the first photo is the one that attacked me when I ducked through the cockpit cover!

The most obvious problem (even if not obvious in my resized photos) is the porthole cutouts no longer being concentric, but I think that can be disguised with new liners where I’ve found a place that makes them for a reasonable price and can do iroko for a decent match to the teak. Not all of the screw holes line up and the compass cutouts are also slightly out, but will probably all be close enough, and I was already considering fitting a protective strip across the companionway bottom edge where it takes the most wear, but probably don’t have to for cosmetic reasons because the mismatch doesn’t look too bad there. Hindsight says we should have pushed the facing hard up under the hatch rails and used more screws for lining up when some of the holes through its thin plywood are slightly ovalled, but hindsight’s a wonderful thing when it’s firmly bonded with epoxy and Sikaflex and what could have been a ‘perfect’ job has turned out merely ‘OK’! :-/

13 January 2019

More bits and pieces

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 5:42 pm

While Fly work’s obviously no longer progressing at late December/early January pace now I’m back at ‘work work’ for the new school term, it’s no way grinding to a halt either with various bits and pieces on and off the boat still getting evening and weekend attention…

The battery box(es) actually went back in on 2 January, but I’ve just caught up with the photography today. It was a surprise to discover expensive, striped, cabin sole plywood when I stripped the paint from the lid back in August (?), but I’m guessing it got used as the piece needing to be cut from the original sole there anyway:

Other ongoing projects from the first week of January that you don’t see here include stripping the pilot berth structures of flaking paint (something I’m only doing outside when I’ve got both daylight and mild, dry conditions) and engine alignment (done by Twig). But I’ve got some work done on the tiller (which we’d removed to get the engine through the pushpit) this weekend, making a wee repair where the exposed end grain was suffering. Think I might finish that by epoxy-coating where I’ve chamfered the corners and a bit down the sides, but not till I’ve got some mixed up for another job:

The restored/improved chart table is all done apart from some new catches to hold it shut and a folding leg for the non-bulkhead end. While I was tempted by sprung ball catches, I’m going to fit magnetic ones because the dimensions suit better and and they’ll be much easier to fit. It used to have two horrid wee hooks on the outside, but I’m fitting catches to the inside front edge (there’s plenty of room for the charts):

Here it is in the stowed/upright position. The teak handle (which I found in a box of bits stashed in my loft) replaces an ugly alloy one. There’s also a cushion to go back where you see the slightly lighter wood and two screw holes:

And here it is as you’d use it (well, not on the floor!). The fiddles (edges) to stop things sliding off are new; it doesn’t need one to the right because there’s a bulkhead there, and the left ones have been left partial to fold up over the nav. station shelves:

Finally (for now), I’ve been fairing the surface ‘craters’ (mostly legacy of the 1999–2000 keel repair) in forecabin and heads prior to sticking down some new Treadmaster. The first pass has been sanded and I’ve done a second where necessary, but can’t sand that till Monday or Tuesday evening:

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