With the duckboard uprights glassed on I set about making the duckboard back panel. I don’t have a piece of duflex big enough to cut it from left from the kit, as I near the end of the construction of the shell. I also glued and glassed another riser onto the steps each side and the foam strip onto the front of the curved transition step.
The duckboard back panel was made up of a number of smaller parts. Because the panel is curved it needs to be wider than it would be if it was just a flat back. But getting the exact shape is beyond my ability to understand how a flat panel curves up as it curves so I made the part oversize, placed it on the boat with an overhang top and bottom and marked the shape from on the boat. I took it off again and cut the shape. I left a small overhang (about 3mm) on the bottom in order to ensure it was glued all the way through. I will grind it back down to flat and level with the underside of the deck, round the edge and then glass it. I will run a uni along the edge just to stiffen the corner up a little more. I also left it oversize along the top and again I will trim it once I glue the duckboard top down.
The middle section of the duckboard will house a long hatch, the main purpose of it is to house long items such as a gaff, boat hook, fishing rods and when not in use on the dingy its outboard can be stored in that hatch. But I will also fit a plug on the bottom, so it can be filled and used as a bath or a live bait tank. The 2 smaller hatches either side will house the gas bottles, one each side. One will be the main supply for the kitchen cook top and perhaps a gas instant hot water heater, both very close to the bottle on the port side. The other bottle will be a spare but will also attach to the barbecue that I will mount on the starboard side. It will not be permanently attached so it can be moved ashore if we want a barbecue on a beach.
Whilst I was making up the duckboard back I sanded a z-joint that had a bit too much glue on and when I bent the panel around the back of the boat it cracked open a little. No big deal, I just laid some glass over the crack to repair it. But other than that small hiccup the back went on quite easily. What tends to happen with tortured panels is that they are difficult to get on first time, then after it being on overnight, the next day I was able to remove it, trim it to size glue the edges of the bridgedeck and uprights and get the curved back back on without too much trouble. Once it was glued on, I coved it wet on wet and glassed it wet on wet where I could, in places I had blocks that stopped me from glassing that edge. Once it is set I will glass the rest of the edges.
With the last riser attached to the underside of the transition step this set of steps is complete. The outboard well lid will hinge from the top of this set of steps and the bottom riser will form the bottom of the lid and it will fall onto the next step, so it wont be glued and glassed on like the other steps. The steps below will be part of another section of steps that cover the rudder box. These will all be glassed to each other but then be cut down the middle to fit the rudder box void.
The shape of the steps is really pleasing me. They have come together better than I thought they would considering I didn’t really know how they would turn out before I started. But the process has been slow going.