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In Greenland

Iron Bark

Iron Bark
Under full sail


At Russell Boating Club's Tall Ships Regatta

Blue Water Medal

Blue Water Medal
Blue Water Medal

Books By Annie Hill

  • Brazil and Beyond
  • Voyaging on a Small Income

17 February, 2019

Closing her in

We are having a wonderful summer, here in New Zealand.  At least it is a wonderful summer for those lucky enough to be able to spend it outside.  I would have been seriously wondering about my sanity at building a boat where the temperature is reaching 38°C by lunchtime and staying there until 5 o'clock or so, but progress had been satisfying and I keep thinking of being out there, anchored in some quiet and beautiful spot ...

 I haven't got that many photos, this time, because one piece of plywood looks remarkably like another!

This one shows me putting the thickened epoxy on a deckhead panel, ready to screw into place.  The rest of the plywood is bare - it will be coated once it's in place.  It's less stiff and recalcitrant if it's not precoated.

 Fitting the deck head panels was definitely not a favourite job.  It was very difficult to cut them accurately to shape because they only need to sag away from the deck beam a tiny bit to end up being marked too short.  Still the trim will hide the gaps.

 The final piece of headliner fitted in place.  I made an extra little 'beam' for it to land one, because I am not going to have the headliner around the pram hood.  Most of it will be cut out anyway, so it hardly seemed worth the effort of fitting.

 This photo shows the extra deck 'beam' with the lining in and ready for its insulation.  Plenty of screws are required to persuade the plywood into place, even along the flat, outside area of the deck.  There has been considerable attrition among the screws, with many making a successful leap for freedom.  I think some sort of toe rail might be a good thing!

 With the high temperatures, even the super slow hardener is kicking off fairly quickly, so I kept the panel sizes down to something sensible.  This also makes them easier to handle especially when I put them down - I don't want them sliding and scraping off all the glue!

 Next one ready to go.  The little grey device is my old barometer, which is convinced that we are in the middle of the deepest depression ever recorded, but still shows the temperature accurately.  It's probably 5 or 6°C warmer at deck level than at ground level, so it's worth knowing.

 Spreading the glue without getting it all over me was a bit of an issue, here.  I am wearing a knee pad, bceause my left knee is suffering from "deck layer's knee", and is presently swollen and rather painful, although it seems to be responding to padding and Ibuprofen.  I remember now that I had the same issue when filling in all the screw holes on Badger.  You can see the blocking next to the hatch, to take the bolts for the winches.

 And here we are - the boat is finally closed in!

"All" I need to do now, is to put down a layer of 4mm plywood all over the deck, followed by the teak and then the deck is done. the lockers next to the bilgeboards require lids and of course there will be various pads for winches, etc.

03 February, 2019

Finally I get to varnish!

I have been working really hard on the boat these last few weeks, well aware that Time is Going By and that everyone else is off sailing while I'm still in a boat shed.  This has meant that my Sundays 'off' have been more than usually busy, plus of course there was the Tall Ships Regatta.  All this is to explain why I haven't blogged for a while.  So lots of pics today to make up for it.

 I may have already mentioned these natty little floor rings from Classic Marine.  There is still a wee bit of space for dust to get into the bilges around them, but they are the best that I've seen and feel robust when you use them to lift up the sole.  They don't hold the boards down of course.  If I go offshore, I'll probably simply put screws in for the passage.

 Making the cabin sole is definitely one of the 'lolly jobs' and I am so pleased with the end result.  The tigerwood sands to a beautifully, satiny finish that feels lovely under one's bare feet.

 Another lolly job - and a rather scary one - is making the saloon table.  Many boats have tables that are works of art.  A friend has just told me how she inlaid hers, but I don't have that level of skill, so am keeping it very simple.  I had made a 'pattern' out of MDF and scrap plywood to test out the idea.  Because of the fore and aft bulkhead next to the dinette, the table needs to be able to slide so that one can get access.

The table is designed to fold, but instead of the leaf folding down, it will fold up and lie on top of the other one.  This avoids the irritating business of everyone having somehow to remove their knees when you want to extend the table.  It also gives more leg room when the leaf is up.

 I agonised for ages over the height of the table, and finally got my friend, Alan, to sit at it.  I had a moment of cold panic - it was only just high enough and I'd thought of knocking off another 50mm to suit me!  As I would like my friends to be able to be comfortable, I have compromised.  Of course, the definition of compromise is that no-one is happy!  This photo also show the table top slightly off centre - slid to one side.

 I then glued two pieces of tigerwood together to make substantial feet, for bolting the table down.  I cut them to a shape that I hope will avoid toe stubbing.

 Oh no!  More hinges and they caused me just as much grief as all the others.  Somewhere in my brain the synapses fail where hinges are concerned.  I hate fitting them with a passion!

 But they do look rather nice.  As long as you don't look too closely.

 Meanwhile, I've been working on the headliner, cutting the plywood, fitting the pieces, coating it, painting it and finally gluing it up.  Two more pieces are waiting to go in, but I decided to leave them off until I'd done the varnish.

 So while glue is setting on the table and paint is drying on the headliner, I may as well complete closing in the boat by laying the decks.  As you can see, even 6mm ply doesn't exactly flop over the camber.

 I had plenty to screw to at the forward end, with all the reinforcing for the mast.  It was good to start off with a fairly straightforward piece.

 However, the next piece presented rather more of a challenge, requiring far more screws than I'd originally anticipated.  Even my vast weight on the edge of the panel only just persuaded it to bend.

 And the matching one on the other side.  Gluing things down in temperatures of over 35ºC is not a lot of fun, even with super slow hardener, and can get a little stressful.  Thank heavens for battery screwdrivers!

 The next panel has to go between the bilge board cases: I'm still working out exactly how to cut them down.  The original idea was to hang the control blocks from them, but I have visions of some large person slipping and landing with all their weight on the 12mm plywood, breaking it off.  So I think I'll trim them flush and invest in some stand-up blocks to take the lines.

 When I dry fitted the panels, I discovered that once forced into place on the camber, they formed hollows on the fore and aft line.  I don't quite understand this.  I'm hardly 'torturing' the ply, because the deck is horizontal (more or less!) from bow to stern.  However, mine not to reason why, so I put battens along the prevent it happening.

 Before gluing the panels in place, I put down some insulation material, more to prevent condensation than anything else.

 Then I had another session with recalcitrant plywood, trying to get it to bend as I wanted.  It would have been a lot easier if I could have done it in one piece, but the bilge board cases prevent that and I didn't want to cut them off at this stage.

 I doubt you can actually see it in the photo, but in spite of my best effort - and the batten, the panel still has a bit of a hollow.  By the time I have another layer of (4mm) ply and the teak on, I hope it will have smoothed itself out.  Anyway, it will keep out the water and strengthen the boat, which is its major purpose in life.

 I find people's attitude to the camber a bit of a puzzle.  When the boat is heeling, you can walk on the weather deck and have a pretty level area to move along.  When the boat is upright, you can walk along the centre line (sail permitting).  I don't see the issue myself, but the camber draws a lot of negative comment.

 I am leaving the stove installation right to the end.  I've put a few tiles in place behind it.  They don't really do much, but they look nice.  Supposedly you are meant to leave miles of space around a heater, but I've lived with many and I doubt any of them complied.  The one I'm fitting has good heat shields and will be 100mm from 'combustible surfaces'.  I don't think it will set fire to the boat, as long as I don't crank it up too far!  And as I only have a small space to heat, I'm unlikely to do that.

Finally, I could get down to one of my favourite jobs, varnishing this lovely wood.  Masking tape was required around the white paint, which is only a semi gloss finish.

 I put three coats on the areas that will get hard wear, two coats everywhere else. If only paint were so forgiving!

 I varnished under where the heater will be.  It's much easier to remove the dust from a shiny surface!  The varnish really picks out the grain in the wood - the strange mark on the kauri to the left of the passageway is in fact a golden whorl of wood that literally glows.  It's quite beautiful.

 I like the contrast of the tigerwood and the kauri.

 And the little locker doors all look rather sweet now that they are varnished.

And I've treated myself to two lovely brass, pumps for the galley.  I am so pleased with the way my sink has worked out.  Large enough to wash my biggest pot in, but small enough that I can use fresh water to do so.

So back to the decks.