Today the hull planking started. Unfortunately due to my worsening knee injury, it is progressing slowly. It took me all day, 8 hours just to attach the keel boards. I didn’t even manage to glass the next panels, so that will happen tomorrow but that means that the next panels wont be lifted into place until the day after at the earliest. No matter, it will mean the glue will be well and truly set on the keel.

I did have a moment of relief where I did manage to get work done at my usual pace but this was fleeting. It was quite strange actually. I was in mild pain as I have been for about a week and I climbed a ladder and twisted the wrong way and bang blinding pain, I yelled out, climbed down the ladder and the pain, ALL THE PAIN, was gone. I could move my knee in all directions and put weight on it in any way, I even danced a jig to prove to Jo the pain had completely disappeared, like I had never injured it at all. This lasted about an hour, it was great, and then I twisted again and bang, intense pain only this time it stayed the rest of the day. I have since been told this is a common occurrence with a cartilage injury. It folds in the knee causing the pain, and can go back into the correct position giving the impression of being instantly healed only to fold again. I may have to have arthroscopic surgery to clean the knee out.

I started by lifting the keel boards onto the bulkheads and then using the ratchet straps to pull them down onto the bulkheads. I then screwed them down into the temps, which hold very well. I use blocks on the bulkheads to screw down into as this holds much better than the balsa in the bulkheads. I screwed the blocks into place then screwed the panels down into the blocks, using mdf washers to make sure the screws couldn’t be pulled through the panel by the upward force caused by the bend, more acute at the ends of the hull as the bend is more prominent.

Then once it was completely screwed down, I released the screws at the back half up to tbh3 and applied glue to the bulkheads starting at bulkhead 6, then 7, then 8 screwing them down as I went, then screwing the temps behind them as I worked to the stern. Once I had all of the bulkheads and temps aft of tbh2 glued and or screwed back down, I released all of the temps and bulkhead forward of tbh2. I then wedged up the panels so that I could get glue onto bulkhead 5 which is between temps 1 and 2. When I had it glued I removed the wedge and screwed it down then screwed down temp 1. I then applied glue to all of the bulkheads forward of tbh1 starting with bulkhead 4 and 3 then screwing them down, then 2 and 1 and screwing them down and finally 0 before screwing it down. Here and there I also needed a clamp to pull the panels toward each other more tightly while the screws pulled them down to the bulkheads. I also smeared the excess glue into a small cove and cleaned the joins and also ran a level on the bulkheads as I glued them to the panels adjusting here and there to maintain the bulkheads at plumb.

Once I had finished the keel panels it was past 6pm so that was it for the day. I may not get much done tomorrow either as my knee should really be rested. My will to get more done may see me attempt to at least glass the next panels ready to be attached later. This can be done with minimal climbing of ladders which will at least be a bit easier on the knee.

I don’t think its fair to count the full 8 hours today as I only managed about 4 hours of work in that 8 hours, but there are going to be times when progress is frustratingly slow for a variety of reasons and all must be reported if I am to be true to the whole process. So today I worked for 8 hours regardless of the speed of the work.

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Paul