I had hoped to perhaps have the first coat of paint, International Microsurfacer over the entire boat by this time. Instead I have completed the dashboard and helm mount. I still have a few pads to put down for various deck fittings, and stanchions will go in after the final high build just prior to topcoat, but that’s about it for building stuff on this boat.
I have a bit more of the cockpit and around the boat some touch up bog to sand but mostly I am ready for paint. I know this because a number of people have told me so. Among them, my brother, who is a panel beater/spray painter who is probably going to paint for me. He said stop sanding and get some paint on. So I will just as soon as the last of the bits I haven’t done yet are done. 2 weeks I reckon. I know I have said that before but this time, this time, 2 weeks I reckon.
To finish the steps I had to fill in a couple of gaps at the top of each. Once I filled and shaped them I took photos as I usually do to compare. I noticed that they are a slightly different shape, which annoys me. But there isnt much I can do to fix them now, and besides one reason they are a different shape is the side panel on one side is 10mm wider than on the other. I hadnt noticed it until now, I only really noticed it when I tried to see what I could do to make the curves match. By the way, if I hadnt told you about this you would never have known, like with the bows, these 2 curves are 22 feet apart and you cannot see both of them together from close enough to compare them. Nevermind, forget I mentioned it.
When I eventually get to painting, I plan to roll the micorsurfacer on, Terry and Ray will help me, then I hope to get it sanded again before the middle of July, when Jo and I take a week off in Hawaii for our 10th wedding anniversary. Yes, the long term readers will know I have been building this boat longer than Jo and I have been married, but we were dating when I started. It’s been the best 10 years anyone could ever hope to have. Culminating in the most exciting year of my life, we are already living in our new lakeside home, the boat will launch later this year and we leave for Honolulu in a month to celebrate those wonderful 10 years. Schweeet.
So I have built the dashboard and helm riser. Its a very modest dashboard because I have the main display, the 15 inch touch screen, inside the boat in a cavity under the nav table bench, that will swing out from under a hinged lid when needed and the bench lid will fold back down and the touch screen accessed through the open window.
So only the engine gauges, key switches, a wind instrument gauge when I eventually get one, and the autopilot head unit, again when I eventually get one, so the dash did not need to be big. Maybe an extra switch or two may find their way on. Nor did I want it taking up too much space on our “veranda”.
I have had the helm riser for some time. Years ago Nine Lives launched without having its davits fitted and they ended up staying in my shed so I cut one of them down to suit my needs. Ply in a box section glassed on the inside and conveniently tapered to a shape and size that suited my needs. All I needed to do to it was cut the top down to the right height and cut a hole in the front for the helm pump.
Then I just cut some pre-glassed ply to shape and size to form the sloping sides of the dash each side of the riser and tops for the gauges and switches attached to the sides on an upward angled slope to meet the bulkhead.
After a dry fit to see if the size and shape worked I glued and glassed the base angled panels on. The helm riser is glassed to the bulkhead, the angled panels glassed to the riser and the seat side on the right but on the inside only, I figure there is little structural pressure on it and glassing the inside ought to be enough. It will make fairing the outside easier.
I glued pvc pipe through the bulkhead into the nav cabinet on the other side. One hole on each side and 2 in the middle for the hydraulic steering hoses. The helm pump can be accessed through the lid which also houses the compass. The helm pump is bolted in from inside so the lid is removable for that reason.
A coat of white epoxy to seal it all including smoothing out the tapes inside and the helm station is pretty much finished. The outside gets faired ready for paint like the rest of the cockpit and the lids get painted ready for the gauges and switches to be cut in. The outboard controls will go on the flat section to the right, I should get them in the next week or 2 and fit them and that’s about it for the helm station.
And a dry fit of where the helmsmans seat would be, minus the milk crate with a pedestal and you get the idea.
And of course where or how I will sit when fishing. Not long now before I am wetting a line for real. Cant wait.