It’s a month since I’ve blogged (or whatever the term is). My regular reader must be wondering if I have succumbed to the virus (which one do they ask?) None, I say but the one of mild laziness. I’ve actually been quite busy but doing other things, one of which being pretending to do some research for my PhD. I’ve actually been to the British library, for the first time for almost a year. I’ve been on London Underground. It’s almost civilised, as you can see from this photo, taken on the Circle line at Kings Cross at 3:30 on a Thursday! Social distancing was NOT a problem.
(I suspect everyon was crowded together in Regent Street)
But enough of this social comment, let’s get back to boatbuilding. The more assiduous of my readers will remember that I had a blog post some time ago about lockers and realised that my approach towards making them in some specially selected spaces in the forward end of the cockpit was totally wrong. They wouldn’t have been watertight and would have flooded in the event of a capsize which meant that would I be unable right the boat and she’d probably sink. Which wouldn’t do it all.
I had then bought some rectangular hatch plates which turned out to be too big. So I gave up the whole idea and sealed the hollow spaces when I put the deck on.
In the meantime, I found some circular hatch plates that were about the right size and had ordered two of them. They finally arrived but I realised they needed entirely flat deck to sit on to keep them watertight. The area I had chosen to install them was curved in at least one, if not two, directions. I needed some way of getting a thin flat ring glued to the deck on each side of the cockpit over the space where each locker could be. I retired to my bath for some thinking space.
This proved unsuccessful but the following morning I had the solution. The hatch plates are circular and fit over a circular hole in the deck. The watertight joint between the hatchplate and the deck is formed by a an annular rubber seal stuck to the underside of the hatch plate just inside its outer edge. I needed to glue an annular mating face onto the deck. Here was the plan: if I cut a thin disc to the diameter of the deckplate and a thick disc th same size, I could use the thick disc to keep the thin one flat whilst it was expoxied to the deck. Then I could cut a circle through the two pieces of ply and the deck and lift out the piece in the middle. Provided that the glue holding the two discs together was not covering the outer ring of the disks, I could then lift off the outer ring of the thick piece and there was the mating face glued to the deck. Her’s how it looked:
So now we had hatches. But the cockpit rim looked untidy – it was all raw edges of ply wood.1 Something had to be done.
So I cut some thin pieces of Utilie and started epoxying them to the edges. They had to be very thin so that they could be laminated around the corners of the cockpit it was a fiddly and messy job, requiring many spring clips and cross cockpit supports.
And that, as they say, was the end of the glueing for a bit. It was time to get her painted. I’d arranged with the boatyard that they would do a professional job on her on the basis that it would cover up all the defects in my workmanship! The only trouble was that the boatyard was in Wales and England was locked down because of the virus.
The first thing to do was to get the boat and the trailer out of the shed and that took most of the day. I had to find some more pallets to build a better roadway immediately outside the door and then the ensemble was pushed gingerly outside and turned round so that Martina (the car) could be back down towards the towing hitch. Oh dear, I nearly forgot to strap the boat to the trailer! And then I had to find the lightbar and test it. I towed the trailer and the boat down the barn near the road and left them there for the night.
The following morning we were off. It was a misty start. Martina ) and I towed her across (or rather round) the Cotswolds, roughly following the line of the Ridgeway, along an almost empty M4 (well it was still lockdown in England) to cross the Severn at Bristol into Wales, where it started to rain in torrents. Along the South Coast of the Principality, past Port Talbot and then up to Cardigan. It was foggy, damp and cold when I arrived at the Boat Yard and left her in their care. I assume she’s still there in their new paint shop……..I hope they’ve started painting her.
That’s it for the time being – more to follow next year – I hope.
The observant ready will notice a certain amount of artistic licence in this blog. It’s all to do with the relative nature of time and whether a writer is obliged to record everything in strict chronological order.