Well another season has come and gone. Pureseal second test plate (remember first test was an abject failure) has now been in the water 3 months short of 3 years. And it continues to impress me by continuing to do its job. As happened last year, a huge storm blew through a week before the end of Winter and when I went down to check on the plate it was dangling high and dry after the deeper water from the storm surge enabled the cord to tangle high up the pier pylon so that after the storm the water receded to a more normal height leaving the panel swinging in the wind for a couple of days. I am not sure if this had any effect but the plates were almost already clean and as usual just a light rub with my finger cleaned off the algal growth and a flick with my nail lifted off the few tiny starts of crustacean life that had managed to lightly adhere to the surface. I say lightly because it took no effort at all to remove them and no tools.
As impressed as I am with Pureseal I am still concerned by 2 issues with it. The first panel was a complete failure. I have 3 tins of the stuff, but I am not 100% sure it is the new stuff or the old stuff, nor do I know if 9 liters is enough to give each hull 2 coats, nor do I know if I can get any more for subsequent coatings because only more of the same can go over it or else a full sanded removal is necessary and if I cant re-coat it I am not sure 3 or even 5 years is enough life from it. If after 5 years I could recoat this stuff with a minimal clean up I would be happy to use it. But I cannot get an answer on availability from the manufacturer. Their website is still up but I get no reply to emails. Next step is to try ringing them. They are in the UK. But I will have another year of testing before I get to that decision making crunch time.
Some of you may have noticed that the website was down for a week and reverting to an older version ending in Feb 07. This for some reason is the file the web host has as a back up whenever their main server is down, and what’s more it seems to have a virus in it. I answered a question about setting up a website and I noted on it that I only pay $1 per month for hosting and they are pretty reliable, and apart from being down for a week a year ago they were good. Well Murphy read that and down went my site again with exactly the same problem as last time. I still cant really complain given I pay about $30 a year to own the domain name and host the site.
One of the tasks I have put off for a while is glassing the dagger case tops to the decks. Not for any particular reason just that it is not a particularly glam job or visually rewarding! But every job has to be done sooner or later and often it does not matter if it is later but sometimes other jobs cant proceed until they are done. So it is time that this job must be done.
As with the hull to case glassing I de-cored the case edge and replaced the core with uni rope but unlike the hull I did not decore the deck panel edges also (on the hull I de-cored the hull panel edges around the cut out and filled them with uni as well as the case edges, just to be safe).
I made the uni too big for the de-cored edge when wet and rolled up (I did not allow for the resin, I rolled one dry to size it and it fit but of course soaked in resin it was too big) but this turned out to be a blessing in disguise because it game me an idea to make the edge more rounded (a sharp edge is impossible to glass) and of course the edge is hard to make round before it is glassed. So by having to unroll some of the rope and cut off about 200mm of it I decided that rather than waste it I would use it instead of double bias which although already cut to length could be used on other taping jobs. And because the uni was running in the same direction as the edge it worked around the corner beautifully to make the glass hold all the way around what was otherwise quite a sharp edge. I even hit upon the idea of allowing some of the uni rope to remain unwound from the rope and drape over the edge to further ease the sharpness of the edge. I had to be careful not to apply to many layers of glass because the tolerances of the dagger and the case are not huge, so I dont want to close the hole over so that the dagger no longer fits into the case, and of course I wont know for sure until I try to slide them in again but I am not worried, in fact the opposite, I had worried for a while I may have made them too loose and would need to fit carpet into the top and bottom to tighten them. I may still need to do this. And if on the very very slim chance they now fit too tight I know my daggers are a bit over-size and can be faired down even further to fit again.
The daggercases have a slot for the ropes used to raise and lower them to fit into and at the top of the outside slot is fitted a pad eye for the rope to end at and be tied off. I do not want a through deck fitting so I will make a solid glass pad eye that will fit into the slot de-cored on the 120mm panel that forms the outside daggercase wall. I have de-cored it much deeper than the uni rope troughs so that I once I make the glass pad eyes they can be buried deep into the slot and glued and glassed in.
I have been attempting to source insulation for lining my fridge. This has proved a difficult task. Well actually sourcing it is not the problem, I can get plenty of it but not at a workable cost. The conventional wisdom on fridges and freezers is that you need an insulation value of R20 around the base of a fridge and R25 around the base of a freezer and a little less (R15 and R20) from about half way up the walls (because cold air falls therefore will want to leak out of the bottom rather than the top of a fridge or freezer) and about R10 for the top and lid. Polyurethane is the most effective foam for this. There is a manufacturer that makes foam panels that a lot of boat builders use to make furniture, that has excellent R value of R6 per 25mm (they only make up to 25mm thickness) but it is $440 per 1200mm x 2400mm panel and because I need R25 across the bottom (1300mm x 600mm) it means 4 thicknesses and 1300mm x 900mm walls x by 2 of them by 2.5 thicknesses and 2 end walls 900mm x 600mm by 2 by 2.5 thicknesses and 2 thicknesses across the top of 1300mm x 600mm. All that adds up to 9 sheets, which at $440 each adds up to way way too much. $4000 in fact. Add that to the $3500 for the eutectic workings and you have a very very expensive fridge/freezer. Super effective where power on a boat is an issue. There is other polyurethane foam available that is not a thermally effective but nowhere near as expensive and it made in thicker sheets (100mm or 150mm) where it approaches R15 for 100mm or R20 for 150mm but it is still $200 per sheet and I would need perhaps $1500 of foam but that is still a $5000 fridge/freezer.
Which brings up a different cost benefit analysis. Because I have galley up I dont have the height for a domestic single unit fridge freezer so I am confined to under bench top height bar fridge units. If I bought a side by side set of domestic bar fridge and bar freezer for less than $1000 for the pair I would have $6500 to invest in a deeper battery bank and more solar panels and bigger inverter. You can buy a lot of power management for that much money. Perhaps the domestic units would be far less efficient and wear out fast in the marine environment but at $400 each they would be virtually disposable and simply replaced if and when they fail. But running 2 units is not as efficient as running 1, even if you could turn the freezer off when not on passages etc. No, I dont like this idea.
So a compromise is needed. One that is not as inefficient as running separate fridge/freezer domestic units. Or not as expensive as making my own fridge. And the compromise solution is a production marine fridge. I have found one that suits my needs perfectly. It fits under a standard height bench top and is smaller than the space I have set aside for the fridge because ready made fridges do not use anywhere near the thickness of insulation. Because I have space I fit a ready made unit into a box that is also foam lined. In other words insulate the fridge itself to add some efficiency. This is the unit I will buy. They are about $3000 wholesale and $4000 retail but I have boat builders that can buy them wholesale for me.
And I will also have a 300mm x 600mm x 900mm space to one side of the fridge (to port) to add another cupboard. The space will be between the new fridge side and the electrical cabinet down in the port hull. Jo and I have decided that this is a great place to put a slide out rubbish bin. Our galley is compromised for cupboard space because of the bathroom being directly below most of it so this solves another problem that had been worrying me. I will have it slid out into the stairwell. The slide out is to make changing the plastic bag that would be suspended in it more easily and for dumping larger items into it, smaller items can be scraped or dropped through a flap in the bench top above it.
I am supposed to be concentrating on getting the outside of the boat ready for fairing, which included getting the dagger case tops glassed. Check. And making the nose cones, and preparing the boat for rotation before I can glass them on, and getting the sterns ready for the steps to be glassed in so that the sides are completed ready for fairing. But I have been stepping into the hulls only plastic milk crates for years and every now and then you catch an edge on them and they tip. I am really fortunate that in the dozen or so times this has happened to me I have not broken an ankle or hit my head or arm hard. I have the starboard steps glassed in because I fell once too often and I tripped again last week and decided time was up to get the steps finished. We take steps for granted and people that climb in and out of the starboard hull down give them a second thought, but I often catch myself thinking how nice it is not to worry about being careful where I step so as not to tip the crate over. So I have made finishing the port steps a priority.
As usual I started by setting out the shape options with cardboard stencils with blocks under them to see if the footfall works and the shapes work aesthetically. The top step is not really a step, it is just a shaping piece to make the top step match the rest of the the steps. You have to be careful not to draw people too far into the well to the point where they hit their heads on the cabin side if you make the top step too deep but otherwise it is just a matter of creating the shape. Two of the steps have been glassed in for some time, the 2 steps on the chamfer panel. Under the bottom of the existing steps I needed to convey conduits across the stairwell to take water pipes and power from the front of the boat where the water and power is to the bathroom, kitchen and laundry (behind the shower). I will have an escape hatch on the other side of the bathroom wall adjacent to where the top 2 steps come out so the best place for the conduits is the step on the edge of the chamfer to hull panel corner. Fitting them was a simple matter of cutting the holes out with the die grinder and router bit and glassing them in in.
Once I had the shaped decided on, as with the starboard hull, it is a matter of cutting the shapes out of duflex, de-coring the front and filling before glassing them in. Setting the step shapes was more difficult in this hull because the stairwell is further forward in the hull than on the other side, bringing it out directly opposite the dagger case instead of to the space behind the case. That meant that the space between the bottom step and the edge of the case is a little less in this hull than the other. In the starboard hull the space is 500mm, but I could only manage 400mm in this hull. It is the narrowest point in the boat. Fortunately it does not feel restrictive because the well is wide and feels open so it is just the walkway at foot level that is narrow.
Because of the size of the bottom step it needs a web under it as well as a kickboard to hide it all. And as with the kickboard under the starboard bottom step, it was just a matter of kerfing the inside and screwing it to the underside of the step a set distance (30mm) from the edge so that it set at the same shape as the front contour. I put a sheet of plastic between it and step as I did not want it stuck to the step as I need to be able to get behind it to glass the step and webs in then the front will be glassed on from the outside only (because you cannot get to the inside) as a fascia. The fascia is glassed in so the appearance of the kerfing is not important so I full and glass it fairly quickly.