Chaos and Holes

Chaos

I’ve reached that point again.  The boat is such an incredible mess, I don’t see how it will ever be habitable again.  Dust is everywhere, though I try to keep up with it through daily vacuuming.  Grime is present every place I touch, stand and see.  The port berth and galley counter has become a tool storage area – again, I straighten it up at the end of every work session, but it is depressingly filthy and cluttered.  I’ve got several projects in process at the same time, and it doesn’t feel as if any of them will ever be finished.  I’ve provide a little photographic evidence . . .

It looks completely a jumble, in spite of the fact that it's fairly well organized.

It looks completely a jumble, in spite of the fact that it’s fairly well organized.

I think I would feel better about it if I could just finish with one set of large tools and put them away for good.  But it seems that I need every tool for every project.

I think I would feel better about it if I could just finish with one set of large tools and put them away for good. But it seems that I need every tool for every project.

I will need an entire day to simply clean the boat once this is all done.  Every cushion has to come out and be vacuumed, every surface wiped down with soap and water – and that’s just the inside.  I’ve completely ignored the deck area, which has an entire winter’s worth of grime, boat yard dust and bird poop to clean off – and the cockpit project is a major source of dust and filth.

Holes

Another significant act of excavation today – I cut out (and replaced) a 24 inch slab of cockpit sole. This is the area that hid the rudder stock bracket mounting fasteners.  But before going into this, let me describe how the cockpit sole was “repaired” before we owned the boat:

Long ago, before I was owner of Cay of Sea, the cockpit sole core rotted and was “replaced.” Actually, the workman simply cut to fit a piece of .5 inch marine plywood (curiously, with a gel-coated weather surface) and installed it on top of the old existing sole.  I would never have installed it this way.  I would have cut the top surface of glass skin out of the cockpit, scraped out the old material, laid in a new core, and laminated a new outer skin, leveling the surface with epoxy fairing compound and sanding smooth and fair.  Labor intensive to be sure, and no doubt, the most expensive way to do it. But this workman installed the new surface on top of the old, using 3M 5200 as an adhesive in a criss-cross pattern between the layers.  This left air space between the layers, but remarkably, the sole does not flex.  The marine ply he used is good material, and the sole feels solid.  Still, the space between the layers harbors water – the workman also “sealed” the edges of the new sole with silicone.  The edge “seal,” especially at the after end of the cockpit, had failed when I bought the boat.  I dug out the silicone from the after end, partially pulled up the new sole material, and sealed it down with 5200 and through-bolts.  This has permanently fixed that part of the sole, but needs to be done to the rest of the sole.  Consequently, water leaks down through the edge “seal” and gets trapped between the layers, ultimately finding its way into the engine compartment through various fastener holes.  Fast-forward to today’s work:

The new layer of sole covered the fasteners that attached the rudder stock bracket.  There was no way to install the new bracket without removing the old fasteners, and there was no way to remove them without cutting a rectangle out of the cockpit and pushing them up and out.  So that’s what I did. Afterward, I repaired the rectangle with a new piece of material glassed in place.  It looks terrible at the moment, but it’s just a raw repair with no fairing compound or paint.  Here it is:

The jug of antifreeze holds down that end of the repair, which tended to bulge upward.  I need to keep it slightly lower than the level of the cockpit in order to fair it in level with epoxy compound.

The jug of antifreeze holds down that end of the repair, which tended to bulge upward. I need to keep it slightly lower than the level of the cockpit in order to fair it in level with epoxy compound.

That represents 6 layers of 15 ounce biaxial glass and two layers of woven 9 ounce fabric for a finishing layer.  The 6 new fasteners will go through this section and hold the rudder stock bracket in place.  I had hoped to not do it this way, but after cutting off 3 or 4 of the bolts to remove the bracket, and discovering that all the remaining bolts simply spun loose when trying to thread a nut on them, there was no other way to do this.  I could have had the machinist put the mounting holes in a different place, but I would still need to get the old fasteners out. – I couldn’t cut them out from underneath, nor cut them off short enough.

And so, the new rudder stock bracket spins off a couple of new projects – holing, and repairing the sole, then sanding and refinishing the sole.

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6 comments
  1. Jan Sopoci said:

    Rick,

    You’ve got the patience of Job!!!! Still, given what I’ve seen of your skills, you’ll be one proud and happy camper, when done!

    Jan

    • Rick – Ah, if not for our boats what would we do with our spare time? Spend it with family and friends? Smell the coffee, much less have the time to drink a cup? My projects have consumed every spare moment for the last three months. I see that you’re in the same boat. So to speak.

      • Absolutely true. What else have I got to do? Actually, I enjoy the work. This set of projects is starting to wear me down, though. All the bad weather, combined with a tentative plan to travel in April – but not ’til the boat is launched! – makes me impatient to have it finished. Looking at the mess on board is just kind of depressing.

    • Thanks Jan. I’ll just be happy when all the work is done, and the sailing resumes.

  2. Anonymous said:

    my mantra..”it’s a boat”..what am I to expect from a 32yo boat..”it’s a boat”..most maintenance, “improvements” as well as repairs start out as simple and routine and evolve into major surgery..after all “it’s a boat”!!

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