The steps are a difficult part of the boat to build freehand. If I had stuck to the kit they would have gone together very easily. But there would be no way that anything other than a 9.9hp motor would have ever fitted into the bay. There simply would never have been room. I extended the bulkhead by 200mm and there was barely room for a 15hp Honda so I cant imagine there would have been anywhere near enough room if I had not.
I have pretty much decided on the Evinrude Etec 25’s or 30’s. They are the same motor with different software settings for the injectors. The salesman told me I should opt for the 25hp for my application as the extra hp only effects top end speed not torque so I would be paying for extra hp I could not use. What I don’t get is how the same motor with different software could be $600 more expensive. Perhaps the injectors are different too? Anyway I was emailed the dimensions and as the Etecs are 2 stroke they don’t have cam shafts and a host of other parts so they are considerably more compact than a 4 stroke. So much so that I had to make my own outboard mock up because the Etec 25 is more than 100mm shorter than the Honda 15 4stroke.
So I cut 2 shapes as best I could from the pictures I had keeping to overall depth and height (I did not have width so I have guessed that) and screwed them together to form a 3d outboard cut-out. I made it 30mm to high and 20mm too deep as a margin of error because if I end up with more clearance it wont be a problem but if it is too tight it could be. I don’t have a problem with width. I could fit 2 motors in there side by side! I then hung it in the well the correct distance from the bulkhead (the plans call for 240mm from the back face of the transom block to the bulkhead. I compromised here to 200mm. I just don’t have the depth. If when I fit the actual motors I find I have a little more depth I will extend that. It will just be a matter of either adjusting the rail car side plates or better yet making them adjustable by using screw slots instead of holes.
With the Etec mock up in the well I was able to lower the top step back down and go back to the original 250mm risers, with 1 small compromise. The risers themselves will all be 250mm but between the steps and for the transition step the material is 19mm and the others are 13mm so the risers are 263mm for most steps and 269mm for the step up to the transitional step. All of the treads are a minimum of 300mm deep, most are deeper which makes them very safe and comfortable to sit on. I have also built a 20mm lip on each tread overhang to accommodate an LED rope light under each tread to illuminate the tread below.
I have run out of larger duflex offcuts so I must now glue smaller pieces together to finish the steps. The good news is I do have enough duflex to finish them and once they are done I have finished the “construction phase” of the build. So I spent a good part of today measuring the requirements for the rest of the step parts (mostly risers but I did need a top step for the starboard side) and glued and glassed more pieces together ready to cut out the remaining parts needed once it sets.
Cutting the risers the same width will sure save time, I will just set the table saw and rip the duflex planks all the same width. I cut the first one today with my last long piece of duflex to be sure it works at 250mm and I cut kerfs on the inside 50mm apart (the riser bent ridiculously easily meaning I could probably extend that to 100mm) and bent it around and screwed it to the step above. The step above always sets the kerf shape. I have made the insides of the steps oversize and will trim them once the steps are all joined to each other. Once I have dry set an entire side I will then be ready to cove and glass them all together. As I reshape or trim each step and am happy with the new set out I transfer any trimming to the other side by tracing onto the other step and cutting it. Making the other side once the first side is all set should be relatively easy.
As is usually the case with all things made up on the fly, they tend to land in the ointment! After I had cut out the strip planked area in order to fit the steps at their correct height and depth I noticed that the transition and top step are too high at the hull edge by about 50mm. If I could lower them or make them less deep (push them back into the well) I could have them meet the hull sides at exactly the point where they turn (the corner edge). But unfortunately I need the height so the motor can pull out of the water and clear the bottom of the hull, and I need the depth or else the motor cannot clear the step (transition) directly in front of it at its deepest. The only way to make it fit would be to not have 300mm treads or not have consistent riser heights and neither of those options work for me either. I am just going to have to shape the corners to blend out the hard corners. Not as neat as it could be but here function wins over form.
So, another week and still these steps are not set. I guess it must be as frustrating for you wanting to see them as it is for me. Anyway I am making progress, its just slow.