[ Home Page ]    [ History ]    [ The Project ]

Project Log:  Sunday, January 2, 2011

With the greatest reluctance, yet a sense of sigh-inducing inevitability, I made two important (and related) decisions. 

First, I would remove the caprails so that I could properly rebed them (with the added benefit that removal would make repairs and refinishing easier).  I'd been concerned about this for some time, given the minimalist approach to sealant application that seemed to be in effect at the Fisher factory when my boat was built, but what pushed me over the edge and forced me to make the decision I'd been postponing was an email from another Fisher owner who highly recommended I do so, based on his own experience.

I didn't want to remove the caprails--far from it--but I just didn't see any other legitimate way forward.  Sigh.  I could only hope they'd come off effectively and in whole pieces. 

Second, in order to access the fasteners for the still-installed forward chocks, after mooring bits, and mizzen stay U-bolts, I had no choice but to commit to cutting holes for and installing inspection ports in the bulwarks and cockpit coamings.  Even with the interior of the boat gutted, there was not access to the underside of these fasteners, but in order to rebed the caprails, I'd have to remove these pieces of hardware, along with the other U-bolts spread along the lengths of the rails (and which were accessible from beneath).  I hated the thought of inspection ports, but didn't see any viable alternative.



There was no way I was going to install those cheap, weak, ugly, leaky, silicone sealant-requiring* plastic inspection ports all over the boat.  Therefore, I spent some time looking for a reasonable alternative.  Eventually, I located some 4" inspection ports made from 316 alloy stainless steel that were available at an acceptable price and which I could stand to have on the boat.  I liked the cover plates, which featured not only the usual holes for a deck plate key, but also a recess to accept a standard winch handle.

Although generally I'd tend to head straight for the various bronze suppliers for hardware, I rejected bronze inspection ports from the beginning.  The existing hardware on this boat was either stainless steel or chromed bronze, and somehow that look seemed to suit the boat.  Therefore, I planned to remain as consistent as possible in my hardware choices going forward.    

I ordered the inspection ports so I could have them on hand in order to drill the proper-sized holes for their installation.

I continued work on the cabin sole support beams.  After lightly sanding the cured adhesive I'd used to secure the beams to the hull, as well as the hull  immediately adjacent to the beams, I vacuumed and solvent-washed, then installed wide thickened epoxy fillets around the ends of the beams, these to aid in the overall strength of the connection as well as to provide smooth radii for the fiberglass cloth to lie across.


With the beams secured to the hull on each side, I'd already noticed a vast improvement in their overall stiffness, since the ends of the beams could no longer slide around when weight was applied to their centers.  However, I still felt that a center support structure would be worthy in the end.

From 18mm Meranti plywood, I built three supports--one for each beam.  Each support was a basic rectangle, sized according to the specific height of its respective beam above the bilge.  Into the bottom of each basic rectangle I cut a large arched opening, leaving two "feet" that would carry the weight of the cabin sole above while leaving plenty of room for water drainage and cleaning, etc.

To install the supports, I first clamped each one in place and drilled and counterbored for three bronze screws in each support.

Next, I coated part the back surface of the plywood, along with the bottom of the arch and the feet, with epoxy resin and set the pieces aside for a while to partially cure while I worked on other things.  I left portions uncoated for now so that I could work with the uncured pieces, but later I'd coat all surfaces with epoxy as a safeguard against moisture.

I installed the centerline supports with epoxy adhesive applied to the back of the plywood, where it rested against the beam, and to the bottoms of the "feet" that would rest on the top of the raised ballast bulge in the bilge.  Earlier, during the test-fitting of the supports, I'd marked the locations of these feet, and then ground the gelcoated surface of the bilge to accept the adhesive.

With the adhesive applied, I secured each piece to the beam with three bronze 2" screws.


By now, the epoxy fillets had set up enough to continue work on the beam ends.  I prepared six pieces of 6" wide biaxial tabbing and installed the tabbing over the beam ends and onto the hull.  Note that the ends of the beams featured a recessed area (from the factory) that would allow the tabbing to remain below the top of the beam itself, so that the plywood cabin sole could extend across without interference.

I extended the tabbing well onto the hull on each side, as well as slightly above the ends of the beams for best adhesion and to seal off the beam ends; the original tabbing installation had left the beam ends exposed, which was less strong and subject to moisture damage.


*Those familiar with my past work already know my feelings on silicone sealant.  For those of you who may not know, here is my silicone mantra:  Silicone is pure evil.

Total Time Today:  3.5 hours

< Previous | Next >

The Motorsailer Project
Site design and content ©2010-2015 by Timothy C. Lackey.  All rights reserved.

Please notify me of broken or missing links or other site issues.
You can always find every day's project log links on The Project page.

Questions and comments | Home Page
V1.0 went live on 8/26/10