Monthly Archives: May 2009

Progess!

Soooo tired! Too tired to go into detail, only that things finally seem to be moving forward. The KEEL is coming together in a satisfying way. For now, here’s a few pictures.

More details tomorrow, maybe.

More work tomorrow, definitely.

Fiberglass and more fiberglass…

At last! The keel is solid once again, structurally reinforced in every direction and built back out to (almost) proper dimensions. I didn’t take many pictures in the sticky, messy, itchy process, not until we neared the end. And I’m not going into details now, I’m still too tired. It turned into a 12 hour marathon, and that after getting home at midnight the night before after stuffing the entire contents of one dorm room into one brown station wagon. Coherency is low at present. I need more caffeine.

Next step, sand the cure glass, fair it, Pettit Protect, and THEN we can start putting working parts like the shaft, prop and rudder back in place.

The week in review…

Too hot.
Even hotter.
Not so hot, but raining.
Raining again.
Supposed to rain, but actually perfect.
Supposed to be only slightly rainy, but VERY rainy, at least until the flood rose under the boat, we threw in the towel, and the rain slacked off.

Where to begin? It all runs together, but here’s a summary. This week Frank and I set out to fix the leak in the keel. Years ago a skeg was added. In the process a section of the keel was cut and reglassed, then drilled for the bolts securing the skeg. Unfortunately those bolts eventually allowed water to leak in, then weep out when the boat was hauled. This year we pulled the skeg to take a closer look. We found a gap in the repair which easily separated, revealing waterlogged cement ballast. Someone with more fiberglass experience was supposed to tackle this one, unfortunately when the time came he was too busy with other work and we were on our own. yay.

First off, the old cement (yes, cement) ballast had to come out. Frank got some strange looks as he used a sledge hammer and chisel to excavate the core of the now open keel, but eventually he reached clean, unsaturated ballast. The plan; re-core the keel with solid teak, reinforcing the bolt holes, and re glass the whole area from the bottom up, wrapping it completely rather than just the strip of glass, which clearly failed. Step one. Grind away some very thick fiberglass along the outside of the keel. More strange looks. It’s the end of April, but pushing past 90 degrees as we’re working in dust masks, covered in heavy clothes and glittering with sparkly, itchy fiberglass dust. It gets through the clothes anyways, and the best way to wash down is (shudder) unbearably cold showers. If there’s one thing I hate more than fiberglass dust, it’s cold showers.

The new core we constructed from three pieces of teak, laminated with West and layers of fiberglass reinforcement. Then the core was epoxied into place, the bolt holes re-drilled over sized. These holes were then filled with reinforced epoxy. After everything is re glassed, they’ll be re drilled to actual size, and there should be no way water can find a way in. And finally, we had everything set to go, but the rain started. Friday a girlfriend and I were going in to see Blue October at Webster Hall so we wrapped up early. Even getting soaked on the way in I had a great time, the concert was unbelievable; unfortunately I was so exhausted from the week and knowing I’d be up at six the next morning to tackle the scariest step yet on the keel repair, I wasn’t in the best frame of mind. Still, Blue October is amazing live, and they performed nearly every one of my favorite songs. I wished I could have enjoyed it more.

I was up bright and early the next morning, despite getting home at 1:30 a.m., and Frank said “Go back to bed, it’s raining.” And so it was. Weather claimed the day would be a washout. So I set about prep for the canvas work, (another fun project, but far less itchy). By ten it wasn’t really raining, but no sense in getting started, it’s supposed to rain all day. This was probably just a break. By mid-day that break had turned to patches of blue, and we loaded the car. We plan out the whole process, figuring each layer of glass, even do some test work. The trick to fiberglassing a complex shape while fighting gravity, we’re learning by trial and error, involves letting the resin start to kick, then laying up a layer and working in fresh resin, rinse and repeat. It’s that whole ‘wait till it kicks’ part that takes the time and patience, and now it’s too late in the day. But tomorrow isn’t supposed to rain nearly as much as today, so maybe we could pull this off.

Sunday dawned gray and gloomy, but dry and better than Saturday began. On the way over it starts to mist. We figure we can still work, so long as things stay dry underneath, so we set up a tarp tent between the boat and the Mars Rover. It’s raining now, but we’re still dry where we’re working so we forge ahead. We’re all set up, the glass mat measured and cut, and the minute I mix that first batch of resin the rain turns to torrential downpour. The island of dry beneath the boat flooded and we had to throw in the towel. Of course, no sooner than we load the car and break down the tent the rain slacked, but now there’s a small lake under the boat. *&#%@!

It’s supposed to pour for the next two days. Just f’n great. Grrrr. Stay tuned for the next round.