Friday, August 5, 2011

Boat Turtle

In the past I found myself getting jealous when I'd surf the web looking at other restoration jobs.  It seemed as if everyone was so far along and did everything so fast, it made my head spin.  Sure, I have a job, 2 young kids that need to be watered, and a whole host of other competing interests; but doesn't everyone else?  I have now come to terms with all of that and from now on I will embrace my slowness; I am the boat turtle.

Fortunately, the boat turtle is on a roll now.  No, I haven't finished the glasswork, replaced the coamings and toe rail or painted anything yet.  But I have found a routine that is working for me right now and should get the boat back in the water sometime before June of 2083.  This past week I have been able to carve out a few hours each day to do 2 smaller layups that have gotten me almost all the way down the port side with 2 layers of biax.

These smaller layups have given me better control over the process and I don't feel like I am out of control and desperate to get everything in place before the epoxy kicks.  An additional benefit of the smaller jobs is that I don't run out of sandbags and can fully and evenly weight down the layup.

For the first layup I pulled the chainplates and sanded the filled area around them that I had done a few days ago, wiped everything down with acetone and then reninstalled the chainplates. Then I mixed up 24oz of epoxy and wet out the entire area (about 7 feet). I still had about 1/2 of my batch left so I thickened it up to a consistency of dijon mustard (not quite runny, but not quite firm) and applied that around the chainplate areas and some of the other areas between deck and core to make a roughly flat surface for the glass. Then I placed the first layer of glass, flattened and rolled it out smooth and mixed up a 16oz batch unthickened. I poured that out over the first layer of cloth, ensuring that it was fully saturated and then placed the second layer. Note that the layup is staggered and the first piece of glass offset about 6 inches from the second piece so that when both layers are in place, there are no seams that go all the way through the layup.

Finally, I mixed and spread a final 12oz batch to make sure the top layer was fully saturated and covered with plastic and sandbags. The next day I pulled the bags and plastic off to find a nicely hardened up deck in place. I then repeated the procedure above another 6 feet aft.

The big time suck for this section was the chainplates. There is a lot of prep work like accurate glass cutting, taping and installing them, and just generally being careful when doing the layup.  I really didn't want to somehow epoxy the chainplates in place and have to cut them out with a sawzall.

The boat turtle boss gave me the weekend off to do some sailing research aboard Pete Cassidy's New York 32 and will take part in the Eggemoggin Reach Regatta in Brooklin Maine. Ground zero for the wooden boat elite. I won't tell them that my boat is plastic, but it's funny that people always associate wood boats with tons of work, but I suspect the amount of work I've done is right in line with many wood boats.

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