Petestack Blog

28 April 2019

Taking the roof off

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 9:39 pm

20 months ago, I built Fly a proper little roof so we could work inside with the hatch open in any conditions. Today I finally took it off when it became more hindrance than help as I sought to get the decks properly clean for the first time in eight-and-a-half years, and here’s the result after a similar effort to October 2010’s six hours of hard scrubbing:

So that was my Sunday, with Saturday spent mostly on workshop sorting and reorganisation, but I’ve also had a ‘production line’ going weekday mornings and evenings (before and after work!) to get pilot berth bases, heads door, cabin sole skirtings and forecabin bunk board trim varnished, and seen here on day one (Tuesday):

22 April 2019

Bumper Easter Fly blog

Filed under: Sailing — admin @ 8:33 pm

Last April (just over a year ago), I wrote:

It wasn’t a great winter for Fly. Consistently cold temperatures, flu and other things contributed to losing most of December, January, February and March, so we find ourselves coming into spring well behind a logical projected schedule from the summer and autumn.

But it’s different this year when so much work since suggests expectations of a 2018 launch to have been optimistic at best. Having stopped last summer just to paint the house external woodwork and make a quick sea trip to Stornoway (my ‘summer holiday’!), I think I’ve worked on Fly pretty well straight through every holiday since (October, Christmas, Easter) as well as most recent weekend days and evenings. A veritable slog, but no question that it’s all coming together now and we’re surely just weeks from the water even with Tuesday’s new school term to keep me from constant boat work…

So here you see the pilot berth bases, which I’d started stripping outside one strangely fine and un-chilly day over Christmas before waiting months to get back out to continue making the mess I didn’t want indoors. Now there’s a bit of a pilot berth saga here because Twig had taken them away years ago to measure up, possibly replace the tops (which the terrible paintwork suggested might be suffering) and then repaint, but his new paint had subsequently started flaking disturbingly back off. So we concluded that something was historically wrong there (no primer?) and they had to be stripped right back, which meant more work for me with numerous awkward inside corners making those bases absolute pigs to do, but the finally-revealed wood surprising us by its excellent condition:

So I was able to get most of the surfaces epoxy-coated like all the other bunk tops etc., leaving the teak-faced fronts (which show when the folding sections hinge up for access to the lockers within) for further sanding and varnishing. And here they are just coated with wee reminders that (at that stage) I’d forgotten to round off two corners I meant to do for a revised fit:

So that was the bases, but the folding sections still needed stripping, which was fortunately much quicker and easier at a single day’s work rather than a good four:

Next up we have some new wood parts I’ve made for the cockpit, with nice, big, teak traveller support blocks to replace decrepit undersized ones made of who-knows-what and iroko helmsman’s footrests to replace thin strips that provided support for nothing (all these things having been removed three years ago to stop the last of the serious deck leaks). So here you see some templating with the spirit level pretending to be the traveller, followed by test-fitting of the actual blocks as well as a dry-run for the footrests and a dining table Deks Olje job on the whole lot. The traveller blocks weren’t drilled yet because the holes for the old ones were all higgledy-piggledy and I was waiting to establish new positions along a line from Twig’s laser:

Now the new traveller blocks fitted beautifully with their new screw holes, but we ran into an unexpected problem with the footrests when the aft-most screws turned out to be disappearing vertically into the cockpit bulkhead and had to be set in epoxy with microfibres rather than done up with nuts. But it’s a good solid job either way, with the excess sealant being trimmed off and the new wood taking up some further oil after these photos were taken:

Two further things worth mentioning here are that the Lewmar 7 spinnaker winch you see out of place in the first pic above needs replacing because its centre stem has broken, and the gelcoat repairs to the recesses for the original short traveller supporting the longer one across its centre were made because it was marginally too long for its space before we rounded off its lower corners to prevent similar damage after refitting. But here are the new parts again with a fine satin sheen today:

Some history of the mast step repair (waiting since the autumn for weather to finish) can be found in my 21 October blog, but here is the plinth flattened and finished at last. It took two further passes of epoxy and some hard graft with a large/long block, 60-grit paper, straight edge and level gauge to get it flat, but it’s now both flatter and closer to level across the boat than ever (hence the conscious sacrifice of some gelcoat) as well as completely solid inside:

And of course it looks nice too now even if that’s technically less important:

Finishing the nav. station/chart table area starts with two potential ‘banana skin’ jobs I’m pleased to get done, which were trimming/chamfering the lower shelf’s fiddle to improve clearance for the chart table lid and sticking trim up the main bulkhead corner:

Next, we had to fit the table with its final spacers for me to bond in the socket for the chart table leg, which I’ve done where the leg wants to go most of the time despite (like so many things on boats!) not sitting perfectly square. So I took up the port-side cushions to see how they fitted with the leg there (NB you don’t actually lie over the gap between leg and bulkhead, but with your head to this side of it when the bit under the chart table’s just for sitting/lounging around) and, yes, I’ll admit to lying on the bunk and dreaming for a few minutes when that was done!

Having cleared the Deks Olje from the dining table, I was able to get back to varnishing small parts (it’s what dining tables are for, right?):

And we got my protective strip (made to my template by Mr Stainless) fitted to the companionway as well as the grab handles back on:

So why didn’t I get the hatch rails oiled when I did the washboard rails? Two reasons… needing drier conditions with their front ends not sheltered by my temporary roof, but more importantly having a long-desired repair (also requiring dry wood) to make to the port one first. This side had always been broken (possibly hacked off to accommodate the hatch garage Fly had when I bought her), and some heart-in-mouth moments ensued as I got started and had to cut out more than originally planned after routing into the screw well to the side of where its plug said it should be (note my two supposedly ‘safe’ and ‘unsafe’ pen lines!):

Still quite surprised a router can do this, but the screw head wasn’t exactly below the plug!

Here you see the new piece made and ready to glue when I work out how to hold everything where it should be, with this end of the existing rail better held down after springing up when the screw was removed. I’ve left the new piece tall deliberately because the top’s easy to take down later:

Here’s the glue-up after testing dry-fitting of my wedge-down and clamping methods. I left the countersinking/plug cutting for later so it couldn’t break out the side of the new piece before glue-up:

Two days later, a satisfying result is revealed with some shaping/sanding still to be done down the outside. The new plug’s offset to clear the edge of the rail and cover the old hole, and the second plug further along replaces the ugly grey filler we discovered to be covering a historic hole drilled in the wrong place!

So here’s the final shaping and multiple coats of Deks Olje done today… can’t totally disguise the repair, but it’s structurally sound, prettier than it was, and a satisfying improvement overall:

To finish by summing up other unphotographed happenings, the mast and boom sheaves all turn, the halyards etc. are clean, we’ve started servicing the winches and are also thinking about the trailer. There’s external cleaning, polishing and painting (mostly antifouling) to be done, but it’s starting to feel like a regular annual fit-out (remember those?) with that familiar anticipatory feeling somewhat magnified 14 years since it last happened! :-)

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:

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