Archive for April, 2008

Cutting holes in the boat

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2008

On the starboard side: jigsaw, dremel tool, drill, hole cutter:

hole 1

From left: mains power from marina pontoon, stereo speaker, (gas locker) rectangular hole for ballast water electric pump switch above a 12 volt power socket. The same is on the port side, except for the mains power socket and the gas locker.

hole 2

Four Seasons in One Day…

Monday, April 7th, 2008

Dinah was moved to her new home in Dun Laoighre on Saturday. In a few weeks time the logo (as at the top of this page) will be put on the side, but while the construction work continues inside this is how she looks for now…

Dinah Berth

(Click on the image to see full scale) 

We quite literally had four seasons within the space of an hour over the weekend. This is the view from inside Dinah. See how the other end of the harbour is under a black cloud, while the boat is being bathed in bright warm sunshine, and there are huge hailstones hitting the deck! Only in Ireland…

Four Seasons

A Breakthrough!

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Evenings have been pretty busy this week! The old keel plates were warped and fatigued, so I had some new stronger ones made. After waiting a while for a shipment of 316 A4 stainless steel to arrive in the country, my new plates were finally fabricated this week.

To ensure as much bearing surface as possible, a bed of fibreglass was laid under each plate. Then the plates were coated in vaseline to stop them sticking to the resin, and gently squeezed to ensure contact across the whole plate.


It took two of us a lot of effort and a seriously big socket spanner (thanks Paul) to tighten each bolt up fuly. These bolts and plates hold the keel on to the boat. It’s really really important that these nuts never move again!

Plates in Place

Eventually all the plates were in, and the long job of strengthening the keel support was finally over.

Floor with Plates

Just one thing left to do. Make the whole thing waterproof! About 2.5kgs of flowcoat with bright white pigment was applied over any bare fibreglass. The result is a shiny waterproof surface that will resist anything that gets thrown at it and will easily clean and sponge dry.


The change is amazing. After weeks of dust, grime, and effort, the result is almost better than I could have hoped for. It’s almost a pity to cover it up with the actual floor! But the boat moves to its new home in Dun Laoighre tomorrow, where that floor will be fitted soon enough. I just can’t wait to bea in open water on the boat again for the first time since bringing it down from Scotland.

Last Weekend in March

Friday, April 4th, 2008

Last weekend was pretty quiet with lots of little jobs done. The two main ones worth mentioning were rewiring the alternator to replace its regulator, and fitting the under-deck tiller for the autohelm.

The standard alternator is, as you can imagine, absolutely fine for standard use. However I’m not planning for standard use, so I want to replace the regulator to make the alternator more efficient. The plan is to piggyback the new regulator onto the old one, so if the new alternator should ever fail that the old one kicks in again.

Step one was to take apart the alternator. Easier said than done, when the bolts are seized from many years of life in a salty environment. I ended up cutting the securing bolts and splitting it with a hammer (as gently as one can be with a hammer!). This photo shows the alternator opened up, with the stubs of the cut bolts still showing.

Alternator Apart

Using silver solder so as to prevent future corrosion, a wire was soldered to the field connector of the stock regultaor. You can see the new green wire coming in from the top of the picture, neaty soldered (glad I paid attention that day in labs!) to the connector on the alternator.

Neat Solder

Then the casing was put back together, taking care not to pinch any of the stator windings or the new field connector. The new wire was led out of the casing and a connector was crimped and soldered in place ready to connect to the new regulator.

New Regulator Connector

Thankfully the bolts that I had cut were metric M5 bolts, with standard threads (yes I did check before I started cutting!), so I was able to source stainless steel replacements.

Then on to the tiller arm… I had Jefa in Holand fabricate a really nice aluminium tiller arm for the autohelm. As can only be expected, when it arrived I discovered they had made it slightly too small for the stock. Several hours gentle filing away at the aluminium with a dremel and it fitted absolutely perfectly. In the picture you can see how it fits around the aluminium rudder stock under the deck (look for the shiny arm attached to the vertical aluminium stock).

Lever Arm

The autohelm will be attached to this and will control the rudder enabling me to do everything else around the boat while she steers straight and true.