Bows, Davits, Fairing, Rear Steps

Nose jobs & hand rails

Posted by Paul

When the nose cones were first shaped I ran out of foam. And I was desperately broke (still broke just not desperately any more), so could not buy more. I even made a ply box to go inside the foam nose to stretch the foam I had go just a little further.

old nose shape old nose shape 1 old nose shape 2

I ended up with squared off noses (see pics above). I kind of liked them. I read stories of cats cruising the Indian ocean after the tsunami hitting trees hundreds of miles out to sea and one cruiser strapped wooden oars to his noses to minimize damage hitting debris. It occurred to me that should I ever be in a similar situation it would be much easier to attach such deflectors to slightly flattened bows.

But I was never quite convinced that they looked right and floating tsunami debris seemed like a convenient try to self convince and a highly unlikely scenario to reoccur in my lifetime. I was recently given some foam. I decided to give the boat a nose job. Adding about 60mm to the length by gluing 2 layers of foam to the flat noses (directly on to the glass) I then followed the existing angles of the inside and outside hull panels and shaped the new foam to a more pointy bow shape leaving about 30mm of flat across the front at about half way up (so it became about 10mm at the hull and 60mm at the deck) which I then rounded off. Once shaped I laid 6 layers of glass over the curved front except at the very base where only 4 layers went over (because 2 of the 6 layers on the rest was uni and it just wont go around that tight a curve, so only 450 double x 2 and 200 plain weave x 2 went on that area).

port nose foam reshape sawing nose foam port nose reshaped 1

starboard nose reshape glassed port nose reshaped 2 port nose reshaped

Besides looking much better and more traditional the performance should be better (although infinitesimally) because the rounded and narrower bow shape should cut through the water better. The bows along with the rest of the hulls still need fairing.

One warning on gluing foam. It is soft to sand. Epoxy is not. So you have to be very careful when shaping it if you use a hard glue like epoxy. Better to use a soft glue like contact. Even a long board manages to dig a hole either side of a hard glue line.

Its been about 6 weeks since the last update and I got much more done that just the nose job. I also fitted the rest of the rear step sides and the tops to them and closed up the gap under the davit steps. The lids are still to be glassed on because I need access to the inside of the space under the step to fit U bolts that will be stern anchor /drogue attachment/towing bridle points.

In order to properly hold a heavy load bearing system from the stern I needed to beef up a mounting point each side. I glued and glassed in solid timber (ceder, the same as in the forebeam) to the sides of the davits. I put about 5 layers of glass over them to be sure it was well attached to the davit side.

davit step rear panel fitted 1 davit step rear panel fitted

I then made ply panels to close up the gaps left under the steps along the rear panel to the step faces. This was a little tricky because the rear panel that forms the aft vertical face of the duckboard that houses the bath is angled at about 75 degrees but the step faces are 90 degrees to horizontal. So the panel that fills the space under the steps are tortured  to meet each surface. So only 5mm ply was flexible enough to make the twisted transition. 9mm ply just would not bend enough over such a short distance.

davit step rear panel glassed bogged davit step starboard rear panel glassed bogged

Because the U bolts will exit through this ply face I also added another 5 staggered layers of glass (1 layer 450 double bias, then one layer 450 uni run vertically, then another double bi then the other uni run horizontally then) the final double bi extending about 500mm onto the rear panel. I figure this should make for a pretty strong foundation for the U bolts. They will be bolted through a stainless steel pad about 100mm long by 40mm wide on the inside of the timber sampson post inside the step (which is itself about 50mm wide by 400mm long. This would have to be pulled through the ply panel with all of that glass over it. I am no engineer but I cant imagine all of that would be less strong than a cleat bolted through a deck.

The edge of this step panel and the front edge of the step ends in the point of 2 meeting curves. For now I have just glued the faces together but the plan is to make a hand rail that starts at this point (embedded into the step below) and to make this point where the faces meet into the curve created by the hand rail and as it travels up to its full height past the top of these panels meeting, to kink out so as not to create too narrow a walk way through and past it, then at its correct height to curve around the 90 degrees in a radius curve of about 200mm then along on a curve matching the front panel and then into the davit side again buried into the davit. Hard to follow? The pics should explain it all.

hand rail hose mold dry fit hand rail setting on mold

In order to make a multi curved hand rail one would probably pay a stainless steel guy hundreds of dollars to bend it in all the right places. Or you could make it yourself by pulling a uni sausage through a reinforced rubber hose (non reinforced hose kinks when you try to bend it around even gentle curves) and bend it around a mold you made to the shape you want. I did, it cost me $7.50 in hose each, about $10 worth of uni (3 meters x 300mm wide) and about $10 worth of resin. The rest (the mold) was made from scraps. So lets say $30 each. I doubt you could buy the brackets to fit a curved stainless steel rail for that much without factoring the stainless rail and bending.

hand rail dry fit 1 hand rail dry fit 2 hand rail dry fit

Because such work is hand made and bespoke despite every attempt to make identical parts there is always the chance of subtle differences. Each rail is left or right handed so the mold needs to be made reversible. Easy, just make appendages to a flat panel that can be mounted on either side, this reverses the angles making the mirror pair. But because of the hand made nature of things, the only other consideration is to be sure each side fits into the space and angles desired. The bottom edge is fixed by where the edge of the step and back panel fall. But the top can be moved a little on the davit side. Ideally I want the rail hard up against the inside of the front wall of the davit to provide maximum gluing surface, but the angle and the exact position can move a little if required, so my fitting solution was to drill the holes for the top of the rail (into the davit) after the rails were made and dry fit to the base.

davit hand rails glassed in

The hand rails on the stern are actually not primarily hand rails. My requirement is for somewhere to mount the barbecue to, that hangs out of the stern, out of the way when not in use. So a hand rail on the stern is where most people mount them. And of course the other sides rail has to match, for symmetry.

I also closed up the rear step sides by gluing and glassing the tops of the sides on. I made it wide enough to mount the various fixtures to that I want, the aft cleat the most important of them. Also there is a hand rail to assist climbing onto the bottom step from either the swim ladder or a dingy, a fishing rod holder and the end of the life lines, in my case ending on a shorter (one third the size) stanchion. The stanchions usually get fitted after the boat is fair, but unfortunately because the place where the last ending stanchion will be glassed is enclosed by the top I glassed that in first then fit the top over it and will have to fair around it.

Because of the cleat, I had to beef up the area below it by adding a beam inside. To the underside of the timber (cedar) beam I put a stainless steel plate, with 4 holes drilled and tapped with the thread of the countersunk bolts that will hold the cleat down. So the nuts are the plate itself and fixed inside the cavity under the step-side top. As I placed the ply over the beam I drilled 4 holes to match the holes for the cleat. The sides have 2 layers of 12mm ply, one glued in flush to the side tops, then the top plate glued down over it. (under the position of the hand rail screws I added another layer of ply, so 3 in total for 36mm in all so that the screws for the hand rail had a decent holding. I had to fit the 2 ply layers over the stanchion, easy for the bottom layer as I did not have to be neat, but the top layer needed to be quite precise. And I used a hole saw on the appropriate angle to cut the fishing rod holder hole.

in filling step side hollow in filling step side hollow starboard

Once I had the inside layer of ply down, making the outside (and visible) layer bend to and stay curved to the bottom layer was quite easy. I smeared glue all over the top of the bottom layer and glued the top layer down to it and used screws to keep it down and curved correctly. Once set the screws were removed and later, after the edges are rounded the exposed ply of the sides and top will be glassed, bogged and faired. The sides are flat for some of the way then the curve starts so to make life easier for myself I made the last top plate in 2 halves, the flat part then the curved section separately.

first step side top panel dry fit 1 first step side top panel dry fit starboard curved step side top dry fit

curved step side top starboard glued down curved step side top glued down 1 curved step side top glued down

I got the height of the top of the sides slightly wrong. Too low in fact. So I need to add some fill in to blend the curve of the deck to the curve of the step sides. But other than that I am very happy with the profile of the steps given how much I have changed the design with the raised last bulkheads. It still flows nicely and looks like it ought to. Its busy with all of the fittings but functional and not ungainly.

port step sides with fittings steps from above 1 steps from above

Before I can accurately fair the tops of the steps to the decks I need to remove the hip bumps so that the blending works both from the sides and the tops (decks).

hip needs replacing before fairing steps 1 hip needs replacing before fairing steps

when curves collide when curves collide 1

I have used foam (left over from the noses) to fill the gaps as seen under the battens in the pics above. They are about 30mm at the deepest and about 300mm from edge to edge and about 300mm wide. Too much to bog. So foam will fill most of it then the last few millimeters will be bog. Of course I have to glass over the foam before bogging.

I also spent a week driving back from Cairns after flying up to get my outboards from my friend Waz. He is currently living the dream, has been for all the time I have been building. His cat isnt finished (inside) but he doesnt care, it does not diminish his enjoyment of the life in any way and that inspires me. He has sailed his boat up and down the east coast living the cruising life for over 10 years, living in a way I can only dream of.

I managed to get a campervan relocation. Backpackers fly in to Sydney, drive in campers up the east coast to Cairns then fly on to Fiji or Bali leaving lots of campers gathering in Cairns wanting to be driven back. So the camper companies offer them for free and even include some petrol to entice people to drive them back. Perfect. Including the petrol I had to purchase and the cheap flight up, the outboards have cost me about $500.

The other exciting thing happening (last Friday) is that Terry’s 37 ft Easy has been moved (by road) into my shed to be painted by Dean the boat builder that shares my shed. That will take about 4 weeks, then another couple of weeks to fit everything onto the painted boat before his launch.

Terrys easy

I have purchased 2 x quad clutch cleats for the lines that come through the copper pipes (for halyards etc from the masts). I got a super deal, so much so that I want to share his details. The Australian dealer is and the brand is master voyage ( It is almost half the price of the “name” brand product and all because the brand is not yet established. Quality looks just as good and the price is killer. Check them out.

I only needed triples for them but I also wanted to have a manual back up of the outboard raise/lower. I will have electric winches for most of the time, but I like to have back up systems just in case.

quad rope clutch position quad rope clutch

I can now make pads for the clutches and the winches and glass them to the decks and make all of the mechanisms for the outboards now that I have them. All of the mechanics of these systems need to be made and working before final fairing begins. Once this work is done there is only the helm dashboard to be made (including the steering and outboard controls) and that’s pretty much it for construction.

After that its all cosmetic work.

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