Archive for March, 2008

Floor fitting

Monday, March 31st, 2008

Not sure what to call this yoke, it rests on the stringers and forms a base for the cabin sole floor boards. Anyway, it had to come off so that the keel pan could be strengthened, as seen below. It was moulded as a single unit and we had to cut it into three pieces to get it out of the boat and home for cleaning and repairs (a few edges were “stressed” in the removal). Here the main piece has been reinforced with a length of unidirectional glass cloth and epoxy along the main channel (at top).

floor 1

The three pieces have been cleaned, bleached and various holes and nicks filled with white gelcoat filler.

floor 2

Next: install with Sikaflex 291 and then lay the floorboards with velcro strips instead of screws.

Easter Weekend

Wednesday, March 26th, 2008

Four more days working on Dinah last weekend. No huge visual transformation like the weekend before, but a lot acheived.

On Friday myself and Bob cleaned up the new keel pan. We ground down any little bumps or sharp bits left behind when it cured, to make the whole thing really smooth. Then the edges all round were straightened and made really smooth, then masked off, so when the whole thing is flow coated in a few weeks time it will look like original build detail and blend in perfectly. Finishing that major job off will really be a big moment. Hopefully everything will be ready for it the weekend after next.

Saturday Bob brought along the front panels of the ballast tanks for initial fitting. We had to make a few small adjustments, but soon they fitted perfectly.

Ballast Tank Front Panel Ready for Fitting

We made templates for the baffles, which will be made from the same plywood as the tank panels. We also fitted the water ballast pump and engine blower, and fixed the door (Hmm, who will I need privacy from in the middle of the Atlantic?).

Sunday and Monday I got out the angle grinder again (I’ve grown to hate it…) to grind away the parts of the boat where the ballast tank and baffles will be bonded to. It’s a really horrible job with lots of airborne glass dust. I’ve taken to wearing two masks when doing it, and it’s still horrible. But it’s a necessary evil, and hopefully this is the last of it. You can see on the picture below how the surfaces are down to bare glassfibre where the tank panels and baffles will be bonded.

Hull to Tank Join

A huge clean up afterwards and the boat is looking great. Even the cooker is sparkling now! More after next weekend… Electronics should start arriving soon!

The Keel Pan

Wednesday, March 19th, 2008

Last weekend saw a huge transformation in Dinah. The keel pan was ground away to remove anything that might prevent the new structure bonding with the old. Any previously stressed fibreglass was carefully removed, as well as any trace of old flowcoat or filler. See below the change made in preparation for the fun part.


After Grinding

Paul Peggs arrived on the ferry, early Monday morning. The new beams were formed out of marine plywood. Each plywood section was bonded roughly to the boat, before being hidden behind many layers of fibreglass, in careful sequence.

Beam Build

Unidirectional glass cloth was used in layers along the load lines. Where less linear strength was required biaxial glass cloth was laid. And it was all bonded together with some chopped mat glass cloth.

The keel bolts were removed carefully a few at a time (don’t try this at home!) to have extra glass laid under them. By Tuesday evening myself, Paul, and Bob were all tired, achey, dusty, and smelly, but the new keel support was finished.


Paul was off on the ferry again on his way to Spi Ouest Regatta in La Trinite Sur Mer. I was going back to work. Bob was off back to the comfort and warmth of his garage to start building the outer panels for the ballast tanks. Soon we’ll be moving on to fitting the tanks, for which all the plumbing arrived this week. Another long weekend for Easter will hopefully see another significant shift towards actually going sailing…

Fitting the bulkheads

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

Saturday at Howth, drizzly weather, today we fit the bulkheads with epoxy. However, everything is a bit dusty because yesterday an aggressive angle grinder was used to grind back the flowcoat on the keel pan, prior to strenghtening. That is an electric oil heater in the middle of the sole, trying to dry out the boat, assisting the de-humidifier.

Fitting panels 1

Here the portside ballast tank bulkhead has been fitted, using WEST epoxy thickened with colloidal silica to make fillets on each side of the panel. Later, biaxial fibreglass tape will be epoxied in place to provide great strength. An angle grinder was used on the inside of the hull to remove the white flowcoat and to provide a roughened surface, a good mechanical key for the epoxy.

The copper pipe on the right hand bulkhead is the gas feed to the cooker. The large white pipe is the fresh water inlet to the tank. The funny circles in the picture are specks of gelcoat dust floating in the air.

Fitting panels 2

Here is the starboard side, with the grey diesel pipe and a number of electric cables, prior to fitting the tank bulkhead. The black silage tape is applied to protect everything from stray epoxy during fitting of the bulkhead.


The starboard bulkhead has been fitted, again with epoxy filleting.


Here is the starboard side insert to block off the storage bin…it will become part of the ballast tank.