There are milestone moments in the building of a cat, taking delivery of the kit, planking the first hull and then turning the first hull over. Today after some minor and frustrating setbacks we finally passed this elusive milestone. Finally.
Among many other jobs to do I still have to tape the join down the centre of the keel that is easier done with the hull turned, but then I still have a lot of work to do on the port hull so saying finished the hull just means to this stage where it is rolled over and work can start on the other hull. Many builders say you can break the long build process down into more manageable or imaginable chunks and that you should celebrate passing milestones so today was a special day.
It is a nervous build up to actually turning it over. There is tremendous apprehension. I even suggested to my brother in law that maybe I was deliberately going slow recently so as to put off this day. I don’t know why I would do that but it is possible. Finally the day has arrived and I paced around the hull many times checking and double checking I had everything in place. And in the end there is no substitute to many hands to ease the load.
As planned I attached guy ropes to the hull via the hooks in the wall to ease the load down and I removed 3 of the 8 legs (between bulkhead 0 and 4) leaving the legs on bulkheads 0, 4, 5, 6, and 7 (I have had the legs off bulkhead 8 for some time). At that stage there were just 4 of us to lift Myself, a friend Andrew, Jo’s son Ryan and Jo, and 5 including Andrew’s wife Kris but she was busy taking photos for me and watching over her 2 young sons. We attempted to push the hull over by lifting from the inboard side until we reached the pivot point where gravity took over and the hull wanted to fall over the rest of the way. I held it in this position while Andrew and Ryan went to the other side to take the weight and try to ease it down the rest of the way. The ropes took the weight and Jo then tried to ease them with the ratchet straps to lower the hull the rest of the way. But this turned out to be too time consuming and the weight seemed a bit too much for just 3 of us holding it. We decided to try again without the ropes and with some extra hands.
So we lifted it back up, which was easy because you only have to lift a little and then gravity takes over again back the other way and eased it back down onto the legs on the strongback. I then went next door to Peter who along with Matt another local worker, helped us try again and with the extra hands we managed fairly easily to lift the hull back over and ease it down onto its side on the pallets. At this stage another neighbour Hilton also arrived to help and the now 6 of us then slid the hull sideways on its side a meter or so to give us a little more room then turned the hull the rest of the way over onto the keel. Easy. Then we lifted the stern and placed the rear dolly cradle. Then using a pallet jack (Kris’s idea) on one of the pallets that the keel sat on, we lifted the hull and place the forward dolly cradle moving the pallet and jack down a little and re lifting the hull to position the forward cradle more accurately. I then repeated this to adjust the position of the rear cradle. Finished. Hull turned. And only a minor scrape of the highbuild on the main chine turn about 200mm long from dragging the hull sideways to repair. Just a minor fill and re sand. Really minor stuff. Once the full compliment of crew arrived, turning the hull only took 30 minutes start to finish.
A big thank you to everyone that helped me today, to Andrew and Ryan for coming over and to Kristine for taking the photos for me. And to Peter, Matt and Hilton for pitching in when needed.
I haven’t bothered to show pictures of the guy rope set up because in the end we didn’t find it that useful. It was useful when there was only 3 of us holding the hull as it took the bulk of the weight but we found it easier in the end to add more help and do away with the ropes. In a way we only really used the rope to tell us if we could do without it, and once we realized we could we did. I have started the pictures from the point the extra hands helped to turn the hull.
After clearing up (re arranging the pallets of stock and moving the empty pallets out of the way) I moved the hull around a little on the castors and found that the front castors were dragging rather than rolling because they were bending under the load. The package on the castors stated they are rated to 60kg but they are not up to the job. This is not a problem because with the pallet jack, removing the cradle is a simple task. So tomorrow I will replace them and re position the cradle. I may replace both sets.
I have removed the legs ready to start the next hull and moved the strongback over a little because of the tight space I have to work in. I re checked that it is level and straight ready to stand the starboard hull. Tomorrow I may even stand the first bulkhead of the starboard hull, just so that I can really say I have started the second hull.
Its hard to fault a day like today. One for the memory bank. And a nice round 500 hours to finish the first hull to roll over.