HAPPY NEW YEAR.
Big year this. Very big. 3 (well 4 really but one is still in development and not as date oriented) big events will happen for Jo and I this year.
The first is we move into our own new home (its not new, its new to being “ours”) sometime between 12th Jan, the earliest it can happen, to 20th Feb, the latest it can happen. Reason for the anytime between is that there is currently a tenant in it and their lease expires on 13th Feb so settlement is set for 7 days after they move out, or if they move sooner, which they may with a little help from the agents, we move in 7 days after they vacate. Then I might be tied up in some home reno’s for a while instead of boat work. That might push all of the plans I have out by a month or 2, but so be it.
Next is probably going to be our 10th wedding anniversary trip to Hawaii to get Maui’ed. We got married in a nondescript park in the Sydney suburb of Normanhurst, then for our 5th anniversary we got re-married at the Little White Chapel in Vegas, complete with Elvis-ish pastor Tony. So it seems appropriate we get Maui’ed for the 10th. So thats late July (anniversary is 8th July but we got a super deal on flights in the Boxing Day sales, provided we fly after 15th July, too good a deal to get stuck on dates, 2 of us return to Honolulu for $1100 including, at Jo’s insistence 15kg of check in luggage each, seems we are going to need it coming home!).
(Another milestone this year might be the launch of my new importing ventures, that if successful enough will enable me to quit working for someone else and get back to being self employed with a portable income that allows us to cruise and whilst I think I might be able to get up to that level this year, and it would be fantastic if I do, I am not so gung ho on a timetable for this one as the other three).
And then finally we launch this beast. Yes, this year, no matter what, this boat is going in. I have some tight timetables that ought to ensure it gets wet in 2016. My preference is for about September, but anytime this year will be just fine. I have spent the last few weeks shaping the bows to make them match, and fairing the flat panel sides. After the initial vertical screed (then sand) then horizontal screed (and sand) then pin hole and scar fill and sand, starting with 40grit, then 80grit and then a final fairing sand with torture boards and 120 grit. I scribbled pencil lines on in order to give me an idea if I was getting close to fair and Terry and I sanded with 120 grit until the lines were gone. In my blind (not looking) finger test I can still feel the odd lump and hollow here and there but they are so shallow (less than a millimeter) that I am now sure that the microsurfacer/highbuild will fix them.
The last sanding run included taking out sanding marks from previous sanding. 40 grit is really necessary to remove the highs but the grit gouges the bog leaving visible scratch marks. Each sand with finer paper starts to remove the deeper grooves but some need filling. This next pic, because of the different color of the fill highlights just how deep the 40 grit marks are. There is an unwritten rule of fairing, if you have not got many points where you have sanded through the bog to the glass, you probably havent sanded enough. Its almost certainly true when you get to highbuild stage.
And the noses now match, and are the shape I want them to be. The top part of each nose still needs some spot filling and fairing but so too do all the curved hull to deck areas each side so the curved top section of each nose, inboard and out will get faired with the curved decks. The apparent differences in the pics below are tricks of light (and shade) and the patchwork of colors from the different fills. Trust me, they match.
Here’s my timetable, remembering the roof is already faired and so too are the hulls from the chine around underneath to the bridge deck each side, including the bridgedeck itself (it was faired before fitting it to the boat). And I have finished sanding the flat hull sides ready for microsurfacer, and shaping the bows to about a meter in on the inboard side, so the inside hulls above the chines are still to be done, so too is the curved bridgedeck D section. So next is the curved hull to deck panels, which I started on today with some help from Terry and my brother in law Graeme. I want to have them faired and ready for microsufacer by the end of Jan when the microsurfacer is delivered. So can I do it in 3 more weeks? I include this next pic to show one of the hollows I need to fill in the curved hull to deck in order to get it all fair. But I will use the notched trowel method, I think this is a faster way to fair compound curved areas.
Like most parts of the boat, they already have an initial bog coat or some form or fairing has already started, so that helps. Because quite a bit of the fairing of theses sides is already done and all I really need to do is to make each sanded section fair to the next so that there are no bumps when looking down the length and a fair curve top to bottom. Not unlike what I have just done with the sides, but with the added complication of the large but ever changing radius of the curve. In fact this compound curve curves 3 ways, around the curve from deck to sides of course, but also with a curve in the beam of the boat from the bow to middle widest point where it flattens out for about a third of the boat length to stern and a curve up from bow to middle section, the tallest point, down again at the stern. There really is no way to batten or straight edge any of this, its all by eye and feel. I have tried to use very flexible plastic as a batten because anything less flexible wont go around that radius, but being so flexible makes it hard to get a proper read from the batten. And because it is a constantly changing radius all the batten really shows is the localised hollows.
I have kind of complicated the process with the flat cleat pads at halfway and at the bows, but I don’t think they will get in the way too much, and might even break up the long runs enough that they draw the eye away from any unfairness if indeed there are any left after the fairing process.
So the process I use to fair curved sections is the contentious notched trowel method. I trowel bog completely onto the surface, then remove all but the notched area again with the notched trowel. It works much better removing bog with the notched trowel than trying to add bog with it only in the notches, it just does not leave you with consistent bog beads that doing it in reverse does. Schionning advocate the method, but I know of many boat builders who dont like it, because the screed leaves unsanded bog between the notches and the concern is that bog wont adhere over it if it does not get keyed. I dont know about that. We filled hundreds of pinholes and scratches in the sides that did not get touched by sandpaper because they were below the surface level that was sanded. The bog stuck inside them just fine. When sanded back down, most areas of bead will be a millimetre or less higher than the base so the fill is really thin.
Then the bog beads are sanded down until it looks fair, which includes completely removing beads in parts. Its a bit harder to see, because you are trying to judge fair from just the bead tops, and the in between sections can fool the eye. But if done correctly then I just back fill to the flat bead tops (where there are still beads) and then fair again. It seems counter intuitive, in that you have to sand it twice, but because the first sand is a fraction of the surface area, its a much easier sand, then the second sand is of a screed that ought to be close to fair already. And sanding the beads is much much easier when somebody else is doing it. I got some help from Terry and my brother in law Graeme. Terry sanding down the last of some pinhole filling (he then found more and filled again, so I have another sanding session of about an hour to smooth it all again!) and Graeme sanding the beads on the port curves while I bogged beads on the starboard hull curves.
So far, I have both hulls notch trowel beaded, and the port hull beads sanded back down. So I still have the starboard hull curves to sand, then both hulls filled again to the bead tops and sanded again to fair. Then spot fill and sand again with 120grit. Once the side decks are done, I move on to the insides of each hull at the bows and bridgedeck curve then on to the stern steps and back panel. (After discussion with other builders, the consensus is that I can skip the normal highbuild I was going to apply before the microsurfacer, it isnt needed so is a waste of time and money).
You can see that areas I had marked to fill now still have beads but other areas the beads are gone and at their deepest the beads would be 1mm high meaning only a millimetre of bog is required in these areas and zero in others where even the existing bog is gone and glass is exposed. For most of the area though, there is at least some bog still visible.
Then I will roll on the microsurfacer and it all gets sanded again, albeit with finer paper (220 grit). (I could also microsurface and sand sections at a time but I think I will wait and do it all in one go). The microsurfacer is apparently super easy to sand, and sanding gets a little easier the finer the grit, so lets assume I can sand the hull sides and around to the decks and the inside bows and bridge deck in about 3 weeks which would bring me to about the last week of Feb. If its as fair then as I hope it will be, I will give it a coat of normal highbuild and another sand (you can see how this starts to get monotonous) and that will be it for those sections, ready for topcoat, at the end of February.
That will then leave just the rear steps and back panel then the cockpit that need full fairing. I am allowing 4 weeks for the rear steps and back panel, that would take me to the end of March. Then I want to allow 8 weeks for the cockpit (just vertical surfaces, horizontal will be covered with cork) including all of the coves and corners, fiddly and time consuming but not as physically demanding as the long boarding is. That will take me to the end of May. The rear steps and cockpit only require the vertical surfacers to be high gloss faired because all the horizontal surfaces, including the seat tops, floor and steps all get a cork layers.
So if all goes to plan, the entire boat in high build again and another sand all over ready for top coat, that will be around the middle of June including a contingency for any difficult areas, say 2 more weeks to the end of June. The decks will be mostly non slip so wont need to be as well faired as the rest, but areas around hatches and the joins to the turret etc wont have non slip so they will need proper fairing. Lets say another 4 weeks.
So maybe I can get shiny paint on before we go to Hawaii, it seems tight but may be possible, if not I paint in August. Most likely not, because at some stage in there I have to fit stanchions and the final few ply pads for the winches and turn blocks, so lets say I paint in August. Stuff like stanchions get in the way of fairing so the usual process is to fair, then grind away the fairing around the part, glass it in and re-fair that section. That could even take another 3 or 4 weeks, so maybe it will be September before paint. I also have a few areas I left half done, I have a habit of that, little things like cleaning up the fairing around the escape hatches under the bridgedecks, I still have to drill, de-core and backfill drain holes for the forward wells, little things like that.
Then I have a few weeks of fitting stuff onto the boat, like the perspex windows, the outboards and steering, the winches and blocks etc. So maybe we can launch around October. Its an ambitious plan, and I originally said this would be a 5 year build so I don’t have a good record with predicting timelines but I really must wrap this thing up and am pretty confident this is launch year.
So something big about every 3 months or so this year. Time will fly by. And for each one of these events I will take a week off work (which really means 2 weeks off, as I also plan to pull back to just Sunday and Monday anyway, so after work Monday if I took the next Sunday and Monday off I don’t have to be back for 12 days). We are taking 2 weeks off to do the initial pre-move in renovate of the house (after that I am sure there will be other stuff), then 2 weeks for our 10 days in Hawaii and I will definitely need a week or 2 off around the launch. Wouldn’t it be great if I could quit work for good a few days before launch. What a year this will be. So lets hope I can complete all of these exciting objectives this year so that next year is the start of the cruising half to this decade long story.
And finally, Jo has been insisting for a while that I update the look of the blog and quit with the tiny thumbs and just post full size pics (you can still click on the pics for an enlargement) and instead of waiting weeks for longer updates, I post much shorter updates way more often. So I am going to try and do that.
Jo and I hope your year is as fulfilling and exciting for you as ours looks to be for us. Cheers.