On Friday Jo and I had a shipment of stock we have been expecting for our business and it was finally delivered after being delayed by a few months. We have been plagued for years by quality control problems so we employed a specialist quality control company to inspect a new manufacturer (that they found for us because our previous supplier would not submit to the QC inspections) so we anticipated that this shipment would push our small business to a higher level and whilst the delay was frustrating we understood that the procedures we were putting in place were to our long term benefit. To our shock, the shipment was the worst we have ever had and none of the stock is saleable. Jo is devastated and I found it very hard to get motivated to get any work done on the boat. I can usually use boat building as a great escape mechanism when stress builds in my other job (I am a partner in another business) but this was so upsetting, I just couldn’t get sufficiently motivated to work much this weekend. We will negotiate with the QC firm for compensation but it could be some time before we know where we stand with it. It is a most distressing time but just another of the highs and lows of life. It will pass and I will soon recapture my energy.

This setback will also slow the boat build down until we recover financially as we will now have cashflow issues for some months (the cashflow issues of the last few weeks were because we had to outlay for this shipment in advance) as we are now out of stock of most of the lines that this shipment had and it takes a few months to get back in again. Fortunately I still have about 6 months work to do using the materials I already have, the cabin top, cockpit furniture, the rest of the strip planking, the daggers and cases, the keelsons to name a few, so hopefully Jo and I will have recovered by the time I need money for materials. I was planning on buying the interior furniture panels in early 08 but that may have to wait a few more months.

So the little work I did do on the weekend was to continue working on both the beam and the dingy. I am working on the dingy an hour here and hour there because I am keen to finish it and play with it over summer. All I am doing to it now is finishing work, I could launch it now but I am just tweaking it a little for fun.

Now that the beam halves are glued together, I am getting it ready to glass. The outside has the same glass schedule as the inside halves, that is, 1 layer of uni with the threads running along the beam and one layer of double bias. I also need to run some uni for about a meter either side of the U bolts with the threads going around the beam to beef up the load bearing and spreading ability of the anchor bridles. The first step was to clean up the excess glue using the sanding disc, then I ran the router along the sharp edge to round it off. I then used the orbital sander to sand the rounded section smooth. As I was doing this the beam toppled out of the cradle jig on the bench and onto the floor, I had a lot on my mind so perhaps I lost concentration. I jumped out of the way so I was not hurt. As it hit the ground I heard the sound of metal rattling inside the beam and my heart sank, thinking the U bolts were loose. But how could this be, I glued and glassed the nuts on, it wasn’t possible. So what was the metal rattling inside? I pushed a strip of cedar up the middle and heard it move. I managed to pull it out, it was only a meter or so in. I had left a shifter inside the beam and may never have noticed it if not for the beam falling on the floor.

The meter or so drop caused the 2 halves to crack apart at one end. As there is glass around the beam at the u bolt their was never any threat of the beam coming apart, and in fact the glue did not break on the front of the beam, the crack has followed the grain of one plank then jumped the glue line and cracked along the grain of the next plank. This crack is about a meter or so, and I simply wedged them open and re glued them shut. This glue is only necessary until the glass goes on, then I reckon you could drop this beam 100 meters and it would not break.

So whilst I had hoped to glass the beam this weekend, I didn’t have the energy. Instead I went sailing with a friend on my little mono. He skippered and taught me a lot about how to see gusts coming and how the boat will point higher as the winds gust more. I am still a long way off finishing the cat but I do need to start learning how to sail, and it was a lot of fun. This is part of why I want to finish the dingy. I am planning to buy a wind surfer sail, mast and boom and see if the dingy will sail. It should and if it does I should be able to learn more about sailing in it.

dingy ready to final paintdingy ready to final paint 2

I had faired the bows in preparation for a friend to airbrush it. This lead me to see the huge difference that a little bog and sanding can make, and the contrast between the faired and unfaired sections made me want to get the visible areas of the hulls to the same level of finish before he paints it with the final finish. The dingy is still not at the level I will need to fair and finish the cat to, but as the paint went on the dingy, it highlighted for me how fair and well sanded the cat will have to be to look good. Even the orbital sander squiggles need to be sanded out by hand with fine paper in order to get the mirror finish you would expect. So again the dingy is proving educational for the main build. I thoroughly recommend a side project like this to practice up coming techniques on your main build. I am almost finished the dingy except for some final modifications I will make once the boat is painted, thing such as hinges and latches for the hatch lids and foam side bump strips.

Maybe I can get the beam glassed before the end of the month. I want to start on the next strip planked sections on the bows.

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Paul