Still hobbling, I see the sports doc on Wednesday and fear it may need an operation. Nevertheless I still managed to attach the outboard bilge panel. It only took a couple of hours so I am confident I will get the other side up tomorrow. Then the bigger panels may take a little longer and I may need to wait until I know what my knee is going to need.

The panels are easy enough to get up and into place, even the bigger panels as the process is basically the same. The panels need to be prepared for fitting, I find that the Ryobi battery router is perfect for removing the glass overhang cleanly and easily. And once ready to fit they are fairly easy to get into position alone, except the chamfer panel, which is a bit more difficult.

Once the excess is trimmed (planed off) from the release tabs and the reinforcement glass is applied and has set, peel ply removed and overhang trimmed the panels are ready to lift into position using the ratchet straps that are draped over the keel from the strongback to the panel and I ratchet it up a foot or so at a time before switching ratchets and ratcheting that one up and so on until it is in position. Then once it is in place I screw it to the temps and the bulkheads, then release half again, apply glue to the bulkheads and re screw it down before doing the other half, I prefer to do the stern half first then the bow but it makes no difference.

The panels are quite light but their length makes them difficult to handle. The ratchet method makes it very easy to get the long panels into the exact position hard up against the panel above (as hard up as you can get which in some places is a 5mm gap) and then a simple matter to screw down into place. When half the panel is released again for gluing it is held in place by the other half that is still attached.

I went back and read the February log before attempting these panels for the first time. I thought I would need help to lift the panels and it took me longer to do than I am achieving now even with a dodgy leg. So I should still have most of the hull planked this month (I am off to the snow next week for a week of watching everyone else having fun by the look of things!).

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Paul