Monday, March 19, 2012

Just to be clear

For reasons I'll leave to your imagination, I sold my 26 Clipper to a new sailor in need of some relaxation.   That being said, I've now moved into the category of "recollection" vs. real-time experience.   Though I miss it already, I've not forgotten all that I went through to put it back into shape for other owners to appreciate years down the line. (Hopefully)

I'll try to wrap this thing up with some additional pictures and commentary, though I may not go into as much detail as all would like.  I'll leave the pictures to explain themselves.

Fair Winds,

Final Keel work & trailer mods

NOTE: This is a post I wrote up in April 2011, but did not post for whatever reason.  I'm including it now to add to the Blog only. I'll update it again with pictures once I ferret them out of my archives.


The keel housing is complete.   After making sure the epoxy was fully set, I went after all the sharp edges with several grades of sandpaper.   I wanted this area as smooth as possible before I applied the gel-coat.  Sanding the upper edges of the patch job proved to me taxing.   Slapping the epoxy saturated mesh into place was easy.   Getting up into there with sandpaper was not.    Eventually, I satisfied myself that the majority of the surface was smooth and moved onto the final gel-coat. 

In applying the gel-coat, my only regret was that I forgot to put on trashy cloths.   Another nice tee-shirt and shorts ruined with a couple drips.  Word of advice: If you plan to do any 'quick' jobs using resin/epoxy....take the extra two minutes and put on work cloths.

Here is a pic of the final product.   Before I stick a fork in this one, I still have to permanently install a cut-off pool noodle into this space.   Not that I’m worried another keel slam will do all that much, but if/when my 600 lbs cast iron keel decides to swing into a solid mass of resin, something will give.   If not the housing, then the keel bolt would bend. Who knows.  The pool noodle will slow things down enough to distribute the forces at play.  BTW, any industrial closed-cell foam will work.  My experience with foam and proved that pool noodles are tough, don't deteriorate very quickly, and never get saturated with water no matter how long they are underwater. Of course, if you do end up with a Keel Slam, you will have to replace it because you will have crushed all the air pockets.

The little space on the port side of the ladder, I made a slight improvement to.   I was considering going back from there with paneling, but who’s ever going to see?

One thing I’ve held off on is the cockpit secondary support post.   Here’s a pick of the original piece of wood that connected the keel housing to the cockpit.   I’ve never noticed any flex with this piece out in all the times I’ve sailed, but it is one of those things that were installed for a reason, so does it go back in or not?   I had originally decided to put something nice back in its place and fabricated this piece of wood to fit in its place.  Since the original piece was connected with cloth epoxied to the support and hull, I’ll have to figure out something similar that does not look bad.    As much as I don’t want to screw anything in from above, I don’t see any other way to do this cleanly. 

Trailer work

When I went out last weekend, I was disappointed to see that my prow lifter was too far forward to be of any help.   The boat still managed to settle back into the cradle and away from the prow stop when I pulled it out of the water.   Looking things over I figured out that if I moved the prow-lifter back, I may be able to help it along its way.   Better yet, I am estimating that if I place another roller further back, I can use it to step the prow into place.

In looking at the trailer, I also noticed that several of the rollers were not in use.   These rollers are obviously remnants of a past purpose.  The previous boat must have had a long shoal keel and needed all these rollers once it was on the trailer.   Regardless, I pulled the first set of rollers off the frame and started modifying their configuration to best fit my hull shape.   Given that there are a lot of sharp edges here, I added rubber flanges which would not allow for any scrapes.   Ugly but functional.  The hard part is going to be how and where I will attach the roller.  It has to be far enough back to force the prow up when loading but low enough that it won’t interfere with the natural way the boat moves on and off the trailer.

I grabbed several lengths of angle iron and started cutting everything to fit. Thinking this through, the rollers and frame had to be strong enough to take the partial weight of the prow not only from above, but also the lateral force when the prow strikes it initially.   I solved this issue by adding two horizontal supports connected to the first roller I installed.

All this being said, the final solution will have to be adjusted.   I did miss the forward roller one time and ended up gouging the fiberglass with an angle iron's top-most edge.   My guidance to the reader is to not follow this plan exactly as I laid it out, but install a wider forward roller to catch the prow.  You have to figure the prow will wander from side to side at some point in the future.   Optimally, I should have changed the design for two rollers, oriented at 30 degree angles that would help to catch and guide the prow to its final resting spot.     To see this in your mind's eye, look at the front roller and extend the roller's V-shape out 6-12 inches.   That would be the best solution.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Additional work

I've not completely dropped this project, I've just gotten it to the point where it is sailable and not in desperate need of additional modifications.  I'm also no longer embarrassed to pull up to another nice boat for fear of recrimination and/or a scowl for lack of a decent paint job.  Tasks yet to be completed, that I eventually needs to address:

1) Replace all lights with LED -

2) Check all electrical and rewire as necessary. This implies I have to break down and buy a decent deep cycle battery and solar charging solution.

3) Install depth-finder/GPS and decent radio.   No sense in getting lost at sea unless I've good reason to.

4) Rebuild keel lift mechanism.   This is going to take some engineering and patience.   Both of which I am short on.

5) Cushions - more money and effort since I have none to begin with.

6) Correct Back-stay with adjustable tensioner. 

I'm sure there is more, but the summer is here and I've no desire to spend any more time than necessary camped out in my carport sweating away the hours.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Topside and Correcting the Keel Slam

The ugly crush point
Correcting the smashed keel turned out to be fairly easy.  Getting all the water out of the hull was the real problem.  As soon as I figured out I had a damaged hull, I punched a hole in the dead space just forward of the keel housing and waited for the water to stop dripping out.   18 days later and I was still waiting.
Other CM owners said the dead space was an after-thought or the remnant of a design change.  Either way, it's a point of failure and is usually fills with water.
On a whim I stuffed a shop towel in the hole with the thought that it will sop-up any water standing in the bottom of this area.  What I did not expect is that it would act as a siphon and suck all the water out of the hull in about a day.

After picking  up some waterproof epoxy from West Marine, and sanding/scraping the remaining loose fiberglass from this area, here is the tentative outcome.  It's six sheets thick and hard as a rock.  I'll sand it down one more time and put some gel coating on it.
What I don't have is a picture of the hole I punched in the cabin floor.  This gave me the means to push air through this space, which in hindsight helped very little.  The one benefit to this hole was after glassing over the outside hole, I simply poured epoxy into the hole until it more dead space.  It took about 1/3 gallon.  It was not the best use of the stuff, but I had extra and it would have gone to waste eventually.

Paint Work Results
Prepwork wiht 3M tape.  The corners were tough.


Port side prior to pulling the tape off
Pop-top, completed and rails back on.

Bow Roller Installation

I had some scrap steel laying about that I had intended to use to build a bow guide.  I envisioned welding up a tripod with a roller at the apex. 

After putting my mind to it, I realized all I needed was to drill holes in the proper spots and I could bolt it all together without welding anything.    Of course, I won't have my sigh my relief until after I try to get it back on the trailer the first time. That will be the test to see if I set the height correctly.  The roller I choose may also be too narrow which will force me to rethink this entire configuration.
Version 1.  Notice something wrong?  After I had it on, I realized that unless I'm 100% perfect getting the nose lined up, I'm more likely to stab a hole in the bow than help land this thing.  I took an grinder to the angle iron and cut those edges off.  I also cut new spacers to hold the support bar to the center.  I don't want any unnecessary twisting going on here.
A little primer and paint, and it's a done deal.

Also note that the upright support is not completely straight.  I anticipate some stress on this construction.  Moving the angle back a bit will lessen the possibility of a failure.....I hope.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Paint & Keel housing work

After the initial sail this spring and the keel-slam, I decided to check out the forward keel housing.  I found that I was not the first to investigate this issue.   At some time in the past, someone had damaged and tried to fix a crack in the keel housing. 

The unfortunate reality of a crushed forward Keel housing.

In this pic, the white material is some sort of pliable epoxy putty.   It was jammed into the crack and a hole a PO had drilled into the housing.

After getting it home, I noticed a steady drip from this area.  I drilled the bottom hole to see just how much water would spill out.   What I instead figured out was that the repair job also included some of the spray foam filler material.   It was soaked and was the main source of the water dripping out.

At that point I drilled a larger hole and began digging foam out.  I also punched a hole in the floor of the cabin to allow me to force air through this space.  You'll notice what appears to be cracks all over this area.  Much of that is cracks in the material the PO smeared over the whole area.   Not a bad idea for a quick fix, but it was never meant to be a long-term solution. 

As ugly as this looks, its not as bad as it could be.   my intent will be to continue to work at getting as much foam out as possible while push air through the void in the hopes of drying it out.

With the two holes, I'm able to use various tools to root around in there and knock foam loose.  In another couple days, I should have a fairly dry, clear  area to work with.

Though I have already gotten advice to the contrary, my intent is to rough up the surfaces and push as much fiberglass filled epoxy into this void as possible.  I'll then glass over the exterior hole being careful to leave room for the keel.  Once the exterior hole is sealed, I'm planning on using some left over resin to fill the void.  I only have about a gallon left, so I hope it's enough.

The key to this solution will be surface prep.  This will be the ugliest picture of the project.  When I'm done, I intend to have a smooth, highly reinforced keel housing that can take some abuse.  With some testing, I may even try to work in a rubber bumper to further slam-proof the housing.

Next on the list was the deck.   The tread areas, originally faded light blue, were due to be painted. 

To get this point, I had to first re-sand and repaint the prow.   Something happened with the curing and all the paint on the prow lost its shine.  I think it was the morning dew and the paint not having time to set.   It looks much better now.

In this pic, I've taped off all the corners which was a hassle in that I ran out of automotive tape and had to use 3M blue.   It does not bend around the corners as well.

After taking off all the hardware, here is the first coat on the pop-top.   Brightside sapphire blue unfortunately requires more than one coat.

I neglected to do the fuel compartment cover on the first go-around

Like I said, two coats required.   I'm a bit surprised since the floor, with the non-slip material added went on so well.  You can see it in the corner of this pic.  Notice how it already is starting to pick up dirt.    :-(

The last thing I worked on was some painting in the interior.  The forward berth ceiling I skipped for whatever reason, so I hurried  up and checked that last block.  

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Clean, sand, paint, sand, wash, paint

The title says it all.  I've spend the last few days working on all aspects of the exterior.  It all had to be cleaned of the largest lumps of dirt, sanded down, primed, resanded, given final wash and then painted with the final coat.

Here's a picture of the cockpit vs. the hull forward.  I have everything taped up that can not be removed.  The hardest part was....well, it all pretty much bit, so there was no real easy part.

In this picture, you'll notice a battery sitting on top.  This was to provide weight to mash down on the poptop.  I had separation that had me worried.  To fix it, I drilled couple shallow holes and injected resin in until it started oozing out the furthest hole.  This proved to be more annoying a task than I estimated.  Just when I thought I had the void filled, seepage sucked it futher into the resesses.   I ended up standing there and drizzling resin into the holes for an hour as it soaked into the wood core.  Its very solid now.

 After painting.  With the proper prep-work, you can get a nice sheen with a roller.   You just have to be patient.
Here's a before shot.   I've cleaned and prepped the entire deck.  Ready for the primer.
 My niece, Kali.   She likes to sail, but gets 'scared' very easily.   Odd thing is that as soon as you get back the dock, she always wants to say on...go figure.
 With all the hardware back on, I decided to add some non-slip paint.  Getting the zones taped off was difficult. I had to use automotice tape to bend around the corners.
 After mixing 1 part non-slip, 1 Part thinner & 2 parts sapphire blue, this is the tentative look of the cockpit.  
I'm really rolling the dice here.  I've never used this stuff before and am going off what others have advised me.   If it ends up looking bad, I'll sandblast it off and start over.

I still need to come back to all the other walk areas and do the same thing.   I hope this works.  It may end up looking very nice and giving me the traction I'm hoping for.

Monday, February 7, 2011

More inside work and priming

 Since I want the boat in shape to sail it in two weeks when my siblings show up for a Mardi Gras parade, AND its above 60 degrees this weekend, I hurried up and started work on the cockpit.  I'm not so much worried about asthetics as I am about getting all the hardware reinstalled.

What I could not unscrew, I taped up.  It's not pretty, but the next owner can lament my shortcuts at some later date.
This is the end result of much scrubbing and rolling of the primer.  The next step will be to finish up the rest of the boat.   Since you can't paint half a boat, I've gotten myself into a predicament.  I know I have to get it presentable, but the practical side of doing the job right demands I ask for forgiveness if its not ready by the 26th.  My biggest convern is that any area I prime, I have to go back over with emory paper.....THAT is going to take the longest.
Here's the last picture I'm going to take of the cover over the indetation.  No more annoying, useless box....and you can stand on it.

With the paining came the despised job or removing the stancheons I freshly installed a few months back.   I noticed one was dripping, so it had to come out.  I picked up in some old boat magazine a tip on drilling through the top deck.  You don't just drill the minimal hole, goop on silicone and let it go.   You have to mark your intended hole, drill over-sized holes and back fill with resin. You then drill you final holes through the resin plugs.  This way, if ever you get a leak, you are ensured that you won't get water into the wood core.  If that happens you may as well go get another boat because I don't anyone who can fix something like that without serious experience. 

Inside the cabin, I decided that since a little panneling was good, a lot of panneling would be better.  Here's an old picture of the initial rebuild.  It give a little more prespective to the after pic.
After a lot of cutting, fitting, cutting and refitting, I eventually ended up with this product.  Granted it is not perfect, but it is as near as I'm going to get with the tools at my disposal.  Notice that I also took some spare pieces and covered the white resin strips that held the wall in place
 You can't see it very clearly since the wood is all blending in, but I installed 1/4 round along the hull to clean the carpet edge up.

...and before anyone says it, yea, I know the wood grains don't match, much less the stains I used.  Ya work with what ya got. 

The outdoor carpet, I picked up at Home depot.   Blue seemed to  be a logical choice, vs. bright green or charcol. It is glued and stainless steel stappled on the seats.  I folded the edges under and stapled them into submission.  

Cutting out the hole was as easy as following the edge of the seams with a razor.   Again, I stapled every 3-5" along the edge to keep it tidy.