I am ready to start working on the cabin top whenever I decide I am too impatient to wait any longer to get started and am willing to put up with making it under the bridgedeck. I have the underwing area clean and I have the strongback ready to put in place as a platform to work on. In the meantime I have decided to seal the cockpit so that when the roof is made and fitted and the cabin sides go on the boat is effectively closed (except that the side decks are not yet glued on) and I can get on with the internals. When an area of furniture or any other section of a job is set out it is called a rough in. What I did this weekend was a very rough in!

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, (remember how I lost motivation in January because it was so hot!) so to combat the heat I decided to work off the boat as much as I could, so finding pieces that will fit and cutting them to size meant I stayed a bit cooler. It did mean climbing up and down the steps a lot and up on the boat is 10 degrees warmer than on the floor, but it was not hard work so I did get some done but even so I started around 10 and found by 3pm I was too hot and tired, so today I started at 7am and finished at noon. So only 10 hours this weekend, and 2 during the week so not a great week for progress but it all helps.

I got a kit with walk through transoms and I decided long ago (but after I got the kit!) that I would not be having the walkthroughs, they can only be used with inboards, which I wont be having and they also take a lot of internal head room, too much sacrifice for me. So I have to create my own cockpit. I had already set out and glued in the shape of the cockpit some time ago but now that I have glued the side decks in I can make the rest of the parts from the kits parts I do have, none of which are much good, and create the parts that will work for my design. Because there are no full size parts I have to glue and patch parts together. No big problem once you know what you need, just a lot of cutting a gluing but once finished the end result will be exactly the same as if I had a kit to start with. I hope!

There were some parts I could adapt, such as the curved rear seat top which still need a lot of modification and because of that it wont stretch to the entire rear seat span, well it was never going to be able to once I decided there would be seat where otherwise there would be walk through. Another part I am able to use is the seat back of the front of the port side of the cockpit as this is the only part that has mirrored the original. Just as well because it has a curve in it and I just cant get my head around making these angles, but with one made I will be able to make the other 2 (there are only 3 corners on my cockpit). Whilst I could not figure the angles out before hand, where a boomerang shaped panel becomes flat along the bottom (and top if shaped that way) once curved. I first saw these when making the dingy. If Warren had not shown me first I would have been lost. That experience though, made it understandable now, so that when I saw the panel I immediately know how it would be kerfed and the shape emerge. It also taught me how to create a kerf that would work. I roughly round the centre of each radius, top and bottom and marked it in, then I marked an equal number of marks either side along the bottom to the ends of the radius (where it becomes straight again) then an equal number along the top, this radius being larger means the spacing is wider so you have a fan shape of kerfs. Then once cut it will bend perfectly to shape. In this case the kerfs are on the outside of the seat but as usual the inside of the curve. With this curve as a template I have the mold for the other 2, although James told me of another easy way to create curved seat backs, butt join 2 flats then run strips in the corner until I have the curve I want. I will probably still go with kerfs but I can see how that would be a fairly easy method also.

port cockpitport cockpit 1helm seating partsstarboard cockpit

I have all of the parts cut except for a couple of parts on each hull where the cockpit meets the hull sides. The seat backs are higher than the hull sides so that I have a lip about 100mm around the cockpit so that if any water sweeps down the decks when it reaches the cockpit it cant spill into the cockpit, it will continue along the deck and down the stairs back into the water. I cant make those sides until I have the seats in place and the decks in place, the decks need to be curved in place so for that I need temporary bulkheads back in and as it is over a short area maybe some kerfs to help the panel bend.

In the meantime I will have to trim all of the parts to the exact size and glue all of them together. The cutting is easy, I just overlap them and trace the top panel to the bottom one and cut along that line. I will glue the parts to each other before gluing the full size panels onto the boat. Before I glue the full panels down I may need to run some conduit in place for the various wiring, much easier to do now while it is all open than later when all sealed. Once the panels are glued on I will fair it all before cutting the hatches back out again. Most voids along the back and front of the cockpit seating ends up as lockers, only the sides of the cockpit are not, they are the bathroom on the port side and the rear bunk on the starboard side.

Considering how hot it was this weekend I am pleased to have got the cockpit parts all sorted. I think the cooler weather is over and I have 6 months of this heat to come. Knocking off early today I also got to go on a lovely afternoon drive with Jo. I still have to make the steps in each transom and then I have completed everything that comes in the kit. I think I have enough duflex left to do that, I am a little short of duracore but I think I have enough duflex to cover that also. I may even have enough to build the raised duckboard.

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Paul