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Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Smooth Bilges

Well, my wife said she wanted "smooth bilges". Why? "Because they are easier to clean!" So, there, you heard it! She volunteered to clean the bilges!
When we last left the bilges, it was after the keel repair (84 gallons of resin infused in the keel). The plywood/glass "top" was cut out and it was roughly faired with resin/milled fibers. Smoothing the bilges needs to be done before the floors can be permanently installed. The picture shows the aft bilge. The right is where the engine room is. Left is the aft cabin. Now this job had been made a bit difficult with the wet weather and the remaining leaks in the hull/deck joint (which I am still chasing down). The upside is that every pool of water highlighted where to fill. We finally got some dry days after that last "hurricane" that went through here. So what you see here is, from the bottom up...
  1. steel ballast
  2. thick resin/milled fiberglass
  3. Ground off tips and sharp edges
  4. thick resin/high density ballons/a little milled fiberglass
  5. Ground off tips and sharp edges
  6. 3M V/E filler (with micro glass beads)
  7. Sand smooth with D/A, 80 grit
  8. two layers of glass
Fore section of the bilge has already been done (I'll cover that in another post). Middle section will be done when the floor is ready there.
Anyways, floors in the aft section can now proceed.
This area will probably get another layer of glass when the engine mounts go in.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Star Wars

So, as the floor joists are nearly ready to be permanently installed in the westsail, some more tools are in order (tools are always good!). The joists will be set in place with Loctite H3151. This is a two part 1:1 methacrylate type of structural adhesive. I would have preferred to use the Plexus version, but my supplier does not carry it. Now, as you may have seen me say earlier in this blog, methacrylate structural adhesives are STRONG stuff. Under stress, the substrate will most likely fail before the adhesive does. And this stuff can be used to bond almost anything (except rubbers). Now I have used this stuff in 50ml cartridges. It requires special mixing tips. And, with a manual gun, it is very difficult to dispense. Your wrists are quite sore when done. A lot of this stuff will be used on the Westsail, so I will be using it in 400ml quantities. So if the 50ml is tough to dispense, I would hate to try dispensing the 400ml. While Loctite does make a manual gun, I would prefer to save the energy required to dispense the stuff for use with other things. So the picture you see here is the special dispensing gun. Air powered. We anticipated using air tools for the project, and already had a 50 foot retractable host reel and some extension hose. This last weekend I rounded up the necessary fittings to hook everything up. The hose reel will be mounted at the top of the stairs next to the boat for easy access and cleanup. A note on the H3151: most formulations of these type of adhesives are fast-setting. Like 5 minutes. This one is formulated for 60 minutes working time. There is also a formulation that provides for 90 minutes. Use as much as you can because once you break open a cartridge, it is toast after a day. Be sure to have plenty of mixing tips on hand. Star Wars? Doesn't that gun look like a blaster Han Solo would use?

Monday, December 04, 2006

The goods...

Despite the weather and other distractions. A few things did get done on the Westsail.
Most of the floor timbers for the aft section have been laminated using vacuum infusion. See picture.
Once all are done, they will be ready for permanent install. So, during this time we have also install the mountings for the bilge strainers. Two have been installed: one in the lowest point aft (just forward of stern tube) and one just forward of the forward tanks. This was done by pre-drilling and pre-settings mounting bolts into a piece of coosa board. This was then set into the bilge with a thickend mix of resin and milled fiberglass. On the forward strainer, there is a larger volume that the resin/glass wanted to fill. So a bulk of that was taken up by setting in pieces of coosa just under the sruface. These pieces will serve as a "mount point" in the event we need to mount anything there (like maybe another bilge pump). It is 3/4" inches, and it can take a screw. And, of course, it will not absorb water and rot.
The main mast step has been glassed in. While it was set in a few weeks ago (see previous posts). It is now permanent. Seven pieces of coosa were laminated together and cut to the shape of the bilge on one side, flat and level on the other. The glass is vertical in compression. This was set in with a thick mix of resin and milled fiberglass. Pieces of foam were cut to take up the volume on either side between the step and the hull and set in with corebond. Finally, two layers of glass were skinned over the step, foam and up the sides of the hull. This should be much lighter thant that 3 foot steel I-beam that was there previously.
One last thing before the timbers can be permanently installed: fair and skin over they bilge. I have really been trying to get things dry for that, but it has been tough this month with record rainfalls.

IBEX, Weather, Holidays

Well, we had a couple factors cut into Westsail build time this month. Mostly not so bad. IBEX As mentioned in the previous posts, we attended this year's IBEX in Miami Beach. There is LOTS of cool stuff coming to the marine market in the next couple years. Particularly in the NMEA2000 and distributed power systems area. AirPax ED&D had a pretty good live demo display. Look for cool stuff from Paneltronics, Carling/Moritz and Maretron. We didn't see much on the Diesel-Electric front. Though Ossa-Powerlight was there with some of their electric motors on display. They held a seminar describing (pushing) their products which I attended. Their approach is a FULLY INTEGRATED electrical system that serves other devices, not just the propulsion motor. The idea is that you would have instant-on power with their super quiet generator whenever the windlass, bow thruster, propulsion motor or inverted AC loads. No need to fuss and watch battery charge levels or decide when to turn on the generator. It is all done automatically. While I like the idea, I dont think this would suit a cruising boat as things are TOO INTEGRATED. I would hate to have all devices fail because one critical component in the system goes down. Thanksgiving We had relatives come visit for thanksgiving. The week before we were getting the house ready for new carpet. Weather Well, many western Washington cities broke their record for total rainfall in November. A number of rivers broke their banks a couple weeks into November. On top of that, we got 4-6 inches of snow a couple days after thanksgiving. It stayed around the rest of the week. It was too cold to do anything with resin. Even in the garage with a small heater. But we did get a few things done on the boat....