Only a builder (possibly only a cat builder) would know what this sentence means. As grating as it becomes you even find yourself saying it. But its true. At various stages what you are doing doesn’t resemble what you are going to end up with. Hulls upside down, hulls not joined, joined hulls but no cabin, etc. Well today (from the Starboard side of the boat at least), I can finally say that my boat looks like most other Schionning cats, albeit not shinny white with black windows!
I started the day with the panel in place but with the braces stopping the panel from bending at the kerfs into place. I had also forgotten to remove the peel ply on the inside. So with great difficulty due to the size of the screws I removed them which released the planks either side of the panel. I also removed the peel ply strips from between the kerfs. (I always cut the kerfs with the peel ply on as it reduces glass splintering). One they were removed I got the panel to curve into place as close as I could, given that the panel is still about 20mm larger than the gap along the sides (no idea yet of what if any trimming will be needed after the curve starts).
I marked the overlap, moved the panel back away from the roof using blocks to keep it apart, and I cut the 20mm off the roof side. I then replaced the curved panel and again found points some only a mm, where the panel was still binding, and I removed them with the grinder. The panel would still not drop down into the slot and I started to worry that perhaps I had a bigger problem than I thought. I could torture the panel down around the roof but not easily.
It was then I remembered that BH5 needed to be trimmed. I moved the panel back again, cut the bulkhead to the angle line I had marked. Fortunately on this bulkhead the uni rope is buried in the bulkhead (so that its curve is minimised) so the top is free to be trimmed.
Once trimmed the kerfed panel fit into the gap meeting the cabin top almost perfectly but not quite meeting the curve of the flat deck panel. The gap in the middle is about 20mm. This gap does not concern me, I have filled bigger. It is too big to be filled with just glue mix so I will use offcuts to fill most of it before coving and glassing the join.
There is still a little binding here and there and mostly by just a mm or 2, some are just the tabs that I have not cut away flush with the edge of the panel (the little bit of balsa that held the panels in the sheets). Once these are trimmed and tab blocks are used to close up and fair any unevenness in the joins I will be ready to dry fit the other side before gluing and glassing these curved panels.
But once this panel went on I could not help but stand back and admire the now near complete shape my boat is taking on. The flat middle joining panel is just sitting in place as a guide to where the curved kerf panels must finish, but with them both on, the shape from the starboard side is nearly complete.
It was again extremely hot over the weekend so though the hours were put in, the progress was slow. I had a headache not unlike that I get from heat stroke when I am in the sun all day. I kept my fluids up but heat exhaustion is likely to have been the cause. And 2 hours were lost over the weekend to problem solving (1 hour on Saturday) and lollygagging admiration (1 hour on Sunday). But who could blame me? I still enjoy looking at the last 3 pictures and admiring what I have accomplished to this point. On days like today, I can truly see the end and feel that she will be in the water soon.