Catwalk, Fairing

Catwalk Roughed In

Posted by Paul

Some jobs have a very high satisfaction level. For me there are many of them, especially those that are what I would call milestone moment, things that everyone building must do to get a finished boat (well all jobs fit into that category but some are highly visual). Like fitting a major piece like the forebeam or the daggerboards etc. Today it was the catwalk. I roughed it in, ok very rough but it fit and is only a few more tasks away from being glued and glassed in. But trimming the ends to shape was a bigger job than I thought it would be. I used a combination of hammer and chisel, grinder and jigsaw and the shape and depth made it a tough job to get it cut out. It took me pretty much all morning. Then about another half hour fine trimming on the job in order to get it to sit in place level both along it and across it at any random point. But the satisfaction level was intense. I stopped for lunch and moved a chair under it and spent my lunch time staring at it.

After lunch I reluctantly took it back down again. The temptation was to glue it in today but that would have meant fairing it on the boat among a number of other tasks, not impossible but why work harder than I have to. So next was to cut away a part of the catwalk that will be inside the forward anchor locker. I will have an anchor chain trench on the starboard side so I left the catwalk full length there and cut out the rest. I marked the shape with a curved section of duflex (a door cut-out) and cut it out. I then de-cored it. You cant leave raw balsa exposed anywhere on the boat even inside, in the tropics even the moisture in the air is dangerous, and the inside of the anchor locker is a wet area. De-coring is really easy. I have a router blade designed for cutting 10mm deep slots in edges and I just cut a slot on each inside edge as close to the glass as I can without touching it. Once the 2 slots are in place the balsa snaps out with just your finger but is easier with a chisel. I did the 25mm bulkhead uni rope this way and just added another cut down the middle and the balsa snapped out just as easily. Then using the chisel you can cut out any balsa still attached to the inside of the glass and any straggling bits ready for back filling with microspheres or microfibres. I overfilled so that I can round the edge that will form the back of a ledge inside the anchor well.

Then to finish the day I started fairing the curved sides. The underside took about 15 minutes of torture boarding but the topsides took longer, in fact after about 20 minute each they were only partially fair. So as you can imagine, after over an hour of manual sanding I had just about had enough. It was nearing 5pm and I promised to make a roast dinner tonight so I headed home, very satisfied with may days work.

catwalk part fairedcatwalk fairing started

So later this week I will finish fairing the catwalk, I still have about an hour or so to do on the sides with a torture board, then I have to sand the stiffening frame bog (hiding the tapes) with a flat orbital sander. I will glue the anchor chain trough wall in and another wall on the other side to square up the ladder area (the side is tapered at the moment) and then trim the foam at the rear back a little further (20mm) in order to slide the deck in under it. Then after all of that, I can glue and glass the catwalk in and hopefully next weekend I can glue the foredeck on.

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