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Project Log:  Friday, June 17, 2011

The primer on the newly molded fuel fill recesses had had a full day to cure, so I sanded it smooth.  I'd planned on applying regular finish primer next, but when I went to mix up the paint I discovered I had none of the required reducer on hand.  I decided that the high-build alone would be enough in this case, since after sanding the coating was consistent with no burn-through.  These were just insignificant little parts that would never miss the finish primer.

Instead, I mixed a batch of Alexseal snow white, and, over the course of several hours through the day, I applied a number of coats using a small disposable sprayer.  I was curious, so I added up the time spent  on these silly little things so far:  17 hours to get to this point.


I returned to the pilothouse, and transferred the shape of my cardboard template to a sheet of 18mm marine Meranti plywood and cut it out.  I had to trim the two short ends in order to get the piece to fit properly, but otherwise it was a good fit.  To begin, I left the width (fore-and-aft) a bit long, allowing the piece to hang over the end of the bulkhead in case I needed to recut the forward end; this proved unnecessary, so after marking the overhang I trimmed the plywood to a flush fit with the bulkhead.

With the piece set in its proper position, I made some reference marks for cutting out the companionway opening, striking lines perpendicular to the aft edge and in line with the vertical opening beneath.  During the short time the boat had been in her original form when she arrived here after purchase, I'd determined that the original companionway opening had been too shallow--a real head-knocker--and that there was room to extend the opening towards the forward pilothouse wall.  So with this in mind, I determined a forward cut line that paralleled the shape of the forward end of the pilothouse, including the angle between the center and starboard windows, with about three inches of space ahead of the opening.


With the basic cuts complete, I installed the dashboard permanently.  Leaving my temporary support blocks in place at the forward end, I installed the board with some epoxy adhesive at the forward end, where it rested against the fiberglass, and screws and waterproof wood glue to secure the aft end to the top of the bulkhead and the adjacent cleat.  One clamp at the forward end was enough to ensure the board stayed tight to the temporary cleats beneath while the adhesive cured.  Later, I'd reinforce this joint with an epoxy fillet and tabbing from beneath.


Until the adhesive cured, I decided to leave the cleat extending across the opening, just to be sure.  Late in the day, however, with the adhesive cured sufficiently, I cut the cleat off flush with the opening.  Even though the cleat had only been in the way for a short while, it had been a constant back-breaker as I limbo-ed beneath it to reach the main cabin.


I had a few more tasks to attend to in the forward cabin before I could permanently install the new berth platform.  In the large space aft of the water tank, I planned to install a waste treatment system and small holding tank, my final solution to the head conundrum.  To support this installation, I prepared and installed a plywood platform across the bottom of the space, with its aft end resting on an existing cleat at the aft bulkhead (left over from the original forward cabin sole) and extending forward to just aft of the water tank.  After painting the bilge directly beneath (even though it'd never be seen again) and epoxy-coating the underside and edges of the plywood, I installed the plywood with epoxy fillets and two layers of 6" biaxial tabbing.  Yes, it got a little hot there at the starboard aft corner, where the fillet was thicker.


For the berth platform itself, I needed a number of access ports so I could get to the water tank fittings and inspection ports, as well as a large opening at the aft end through which I'd install and service (hopefully minimally) the treatment system. 

After laying out the openings as need be, I cut the hatches with a jigsaw and  test-fit the plywood sections back in the boat to ensure that I'd made the cutouts in an effective way.  Later, I'd add support cleats for the hatch covers, plus some interim support for the berth platform itself.

Total Time Today:  6 hours

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