Tomorrow I will start sanding again to finish up where I left off last May. Since we need to have the cabin sides painted, I will also sand the cockpit and the hatch area even though they came out fine with the roll-and-tip Perfection. The Alwgrip tech rep told me that Awlgrip and Perfection are compatible so I don't need to sand the Perfection off or even prime over it, just sand it with 220-320 grit paper. It's requires more work to paint over the Perfection, but I think it is better to have only one kind of exterior paint on the boat. The plan is to complete the sanding and tape off the boat by the beginning of next week. Then, the painter will spray the cabin sides, cockpit, and hatches (laid out on saw horses) on the first day. He will spray the topsides (hull) the second day. Then we will be done. I should have gone this route last spring when the hull was in perfect shape. Live and learn. 26 Sept 11I have been corresponding with Lin and Larry Pardey for about 18 months. They have graciously answered many questions I've had about interior changes we made to the Far Reach. During the summer, while exchanging emails with them about splicing wire rigging, they suggested I meet with them this fall during their tour of the US East Coast so Larry could get a better look at my splices and give me some tips. So, this past week, while visiting with my friend Steve and welding the test pattern for the bronze bulwark bracket (see below), I linked up with Lin and Larry just south of Annapolis where they were scheduled to speak at the Seven Seas Cruising Association Gam. What a great visit! I had about 2 1/2 hours "one-on-one" with them. They were not only incredibly helpful answering my many questions but wonderfully encouraging on the direction we are taking with the Far Reach. They were as delightful and charming in person as they are in their videos and books. It was a privilege to meet with them. They are truly a treasure to the sailing community.
I started by sanding the bronze with 80 grit sandpaper on my double action right angle sander. Then I worked my up through 120, 180, 220, and 320. I performed the final sanding by hand with 400 grit wet/dry paper. There were some defects and scratches that were too deep to eliminate as I would have had to remove too much bronze. All these parts, save the oil lamp brackets, will eventually load up with green verdigris anyway so a mirror finsh is not required. Next, I took the parts to the buffing wheels. The way it works is once the buffing wheel is spinning you touch the stick of abrasive to the spinning buffing pad and then start polishing. After lots of polishing with the black abrasive I switched to the brown. You keep polishing till you have the finish you want. In between I had to use my Dremel with very small polishing wheels to work some of the tight corners. I was never able to really polish out the inside flat parts of the bow roller because I could not get my DA sander in there. The procedures were the same for the other bronze parts as well.
The most exciting part of the whole event was in the last couple of minutes of the final polishing my 10 year old makita grinder gave up the ghost and caught fire! There were flames and smoke. I quickly unplugged it and dragged it out of the shop by the cord. I took it as a signal that I was done polishing. Though I learned a lot about polishing I have a real appreciation for the quality of work and the product produced by PTF. Their products do not require any work . . . they are ready to install. Nonetheless, I am satified with these parts and as I have all along I Iearned something new as I rebuild the Far Reach.
I hope to get back to installing overhead insulation this coming week.
And this brings me to something I have learned over the course of the rebuild of the Far Reach . . . some of the traditional techniques and ideas I have tried to incorporate to keep the boat strong and simple are not so easy or inexpensive to implement. In the old days splicing was common and I am sure there were lots of suppliers to help sailors, builders, and riggers get the items they needed to get the job done. But, traditional techniques are so seldom used anymore that when you can even find the special things you need they are incredibly expensive.
For the last couple of years I have been watching with great interest the development and use of Dynex Dux synthetic line as standing rigging. I have talked to some folks that have used it. Most of what I have heard and read has been positive. It is expensive but it is very easy to work with. It is super strong (twice as strong as steel wire of similar size) with almost zero stretch though it does suffer from creep. The real question for me is UV longevity which Colligo Marine states should be at least 8-10 years in the tropics maybe more since it has not been used that long as standing rigging. I have heard some frustration with thermal expansion and contraction--in other words as the temps drop the rig can get slack if you use dead eyes to tension the rig. But, Brion Toss seems to think it has a great future. There have been interesting discussions on the "Spar Talk" forum about the pros and cons of synthetic rigging.
I still have time to decide what I am going to do but I am beginning to feel like I am swimming upstream with regards to splicing traditional standing rigging. In the meantime I enjoy the splicing. It's not that hard and it is very satisfying to create a nice splice. Now, if I can just find those thimbles.
The center of the eye came ashore at Cape Lookout which is about 30 miles east of here. The coast can be misleading here as we are on the Atlantic as well . . . the coast runs almost directly east. In fact, Cape look out is actually ESE of us. We never saw the eye as the west side remained just a little to the east of us. That pretty much put us in very strong winds the whole time to include a ride along the eye-wall. Amazingly, the shed came through without damage. There are a few holes in the top of the plastic next to the ridge pole but that was due to my own fault when I installed it more than two years ago. I normally have a vapor barrier rigged up on the inside to mitigate condensation that forms when the air is warm on the inside but cold on the outside. The vapor barrier also channels these minor leaks to the sides of the shed. For Irene I removed the vapor barrier in case the shed blew down. I have since installed a new one.
The water seen in the video on the ground mostly entered under the edge of the shed from the flooded yard. Some blew in through the cracks in the barn-style doors. The shed really impressed me. It flexed a lot but never gave any indication it would structurally fail. The UV resistant plastic held. We have heard from several sources that the wind speed hit 100 mph in our town but I have not been able to verify it. Nonetheless, it was pretty darn windy.
I finished closing the boat up and taping over any remaining holes. I removed the vapor barrier because it had a lot of UV rot and was beginning to fall down. Also, the bows that held the vapor barrier in place were pretty flimsy and I wasn't sure they would survive the high wind shaking of the shed which I expect will be significant. What I want to avoid is the vapor barrier bows snapping and punching a hole through the plastic cover. I installed two guy lines from the top of the shed, one from each end, to steel engineer stakes I drove into the ground. The eye bolts are probably undersized but that is what I had. Maybe the lines will hold. I also rigged up two ratchet straps rated to 13,000 lbs--one over the front and one over the back of the boat. I hooked them into the steel screw anchors I installed yesterday. Hopefully the shed, and the Far Reach, will come through the storm. If not, I'll deal with whatever is required to get back on track.
I decided to use Armaflex AP self-adhesive closed cell foam 1/2" thick for overhead insulation. I add 1/4" thick reflectix foil insulation on top (between the AP foam and the overhead panels). I chose this method after much research. I finally decided that I can mitigate condensation on the inside of the hull by directing it down into the bilge, but I can't mitigate condensation on the overhead . . . it will drip against the overhead panels and even with epoxy coating to protect the wood nothing good can come from the moisture. The foam arrived to day. So I am ready to go . . . except for Hurricane Irene.
The Storm: We have spent the last couple of days prepping for what looks to be a pretty big hurricane. Having grown up in south Florida and having spent much of my adult life in coastal Carolina we are not new to these dangerous weather systems. We had high hopes she would pass by to the east, as so many do, so our early preparation have been things that we needed to do any way, e.g. make simple wood hatches and covers for the portlights that can be secured in place, sink 4' long screw anchors (used to hold down mobile homes) and buy two 30 foot long 3" wide ratchet straps. We also secured shutters on the house that were lose.
Well at noon today we were surprised and concerned to see the forecast for land fall of the eye move from about 75 miles north east of here to basically right over our little seaside town of Swansboro. It could still move but it seems to be firming up that Irene will come ashore very close. That intensified our preparations. I spent the day taping plastic over the portholes to keep the water out of the boat, moving the rest of the tools from the SRF into the shop, securing the dinghy and kayaks, etc. The big question has been to leave or remove the plastic cover over the SRF. After much thought and several plans to do this or that we decided to leave the plastic in place. It's a very good design and sheds wind exceptionally well. We think, based on what we know today, that most of the wind will come from the west side of the house. The garage should provide some wind break. The shed base board is through bolted to (12) 4x4s sunk 4' in the ground with concrete. The design called for a single diagonally on a side and I installed two on each side when I built it. One of the problems with removing the cover is I did not have a place to store every thing in the SRF (scaffolding), SRF plywood floor, tables, etc. This stuff could be dangerous if the wind gets under it. It seemed the lesser of two evils to leave the plastic on the sheet and hope for the best. I bought some 6' engineer stakes tonight and tomorrow will rig guy lines from the ridge pole on each end to add strength to the shed.
We have a lot of work left to do tomorrow. Plants to move into the garage, lawn furniture, final taping on the boat, and rigging the guy lines and ratchet straps. 15 Aug 11I have spent the last five days working on the installation of the overhead V-groove panels. I routered a test panel of 1/4" plywood, which I was very pleased with. I have spend numerous hours, with many more to go, installing more overhead cleats necessary to secure the outboard edge of the panels. I suspect I'll be working on this project for the next few weeks. Once the panels are cut and fitted they will require a couple coats of epoxy on the back sides and edges. The underside, the side you'll see, will need to be primed and painted. I'll post pictures of the progress in a few days.
9 Aug 11Today, I removed the screw-clamps, counter sunk holes, and installed wood plugs. I added a picture to the photos below.
I started off by painting the exposed epoxy and biaxial tape in the locker bottom with two coats of grey Interlux Bilge-Kote paint. Next, I installed the cleats that will secure the forward and aft ends of the settee panels. The cleats are ash. I then clamped 2x4s to the cleats, which I had run over my jointer to create a perfect straight edge, to serve as a strong back for the dividers. With the 2x4s clamped in place I made doorskin templates for the dividers. I chose to go with only one 1/2 BS 1088 plywood divider per settee since the settee panels will be further stiffened once the staving is epoxied in place. I drilled a series of 1 1/2" holes in the dividers to promote airflow. I glued the cleats to the divider, except the inside vertical one, and screwed them into place with #10 1 1/2" SS screws.
I pre cut the staving pieces and test fit them to the panels. The staving will extend below the cabin sole (the picture below show them sitting on the cabin sole). Once installed, the sole will butt up to the staving. This is necessary so the entire sole can quickly and easily be removed. Also, any water that drips on the sole and runs to the edges of the settee will drain into the bilge through the V-grooves. By keeping the V-grooves open air flow is also promoted.
The next task was to epoxy the staving in place. As has become my SOP, I used System Three T88 epoxy as the adhesive for the staving. I used the same screw blocks to clamp them in place as I have for all the rest of the staving.
With the heat in the boat near 96 degrees today this was not fun. But, its done. Tomorrow I will remove the screw clamps, counter sink the holes, and install wood plugs. Soon I will be able to declare victory for the setee project.