Monday, September 18, 2017

Torschlusspanik

That is a German expression for the panic that sets in as the door begins to close. I am committed to move Dreamtime to water on 26 September, and now have seven million things to tie up. My plan to have her splashed reasonably nearby did not come off, so she will go to Manten's Marina in Deneysville. Check it out on Google maps... A cool 160km from here (That's 99.4194 miles, for the Americans) which means a two hour drive to go and finish all the final jobs. It's highway through some of the more congested highways around Johannesburg, and my nerves are already getting wound up.
Framework for wim platform and boarding step

Last week was miserable: Either the parts I had made didn't fit or I forgot something at home. So I try to work at home and the parts are on the boat... And then on Friday things came together: The shackles that were too big were changed by a friendly girl for a smaller size that was not in the catalog. The swim platform went on as designed, with almost no hassles, and came off again for rustproofing. The net under the bowsprit went on as planned. The electrical panels went on, but will need slight modifications.
Electrical panels: first fitting

The panels between the toilet and the waste water tank came out as planned, now for the pipework. And a problem: The standpipe to the hull is 50mm. The outlet from the tank is 48mm. A 50mm gate valve/ball valve is actually 2 inches, so 58mm thread. And plumber suppliers just shrug and rill their eyes. So that has to be fixed before I can splash her. Also the sea chest inlet is 40mm, and I need to borrow a die to thread that, a ball valve (1.5 inch) is already waiting. A friend has an old plumber friend who will lend me his old manual die, these days everyone use machines to thread pipe and you must just bring your boat to the workshop....
Pirate number one
Pirate number 2

I had help with fitting screws and unscrewing bolts: My pirates boarded me again. Such friendly, well-behaved pirates, Josh and Cooper.

I will only have helpers for two more working days, so there are priority lists...

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sitting pretty

Research is hard work
Work has been going on, despite life happening. We went looking for an alternative place to splash the boat, and try her out, learn to sail, and have fun. The intensive research (insert smiley) resulted in finding a good steak house not far from a sailing club on a reservoir close by. Water is quite polluted, and much is far from ideal, but it can work. We plan to get out there by end September. It is close enough that one could carry on the fitting out, driving out there would take an hour each way. So that is what we will do.

Shahnaz cutting the insulation
Fitting backing blocks for the starboard bunk.
Phineas and David cutting to the middle of the pencil line.
We have been doing a few things, the most important I will cover in this post is insulation, this time with aluminium-covered bubbble wrap. This is for the main cabin, and the spaces behind the bunks. We also proceeded with the saloon bunks and the lockers under them. Phineas did his usual meticulous work, I helped and held things, David stood by and told us when we started cutting into the crate under the work.

Plastic crate going in.
Pilot berth bottom going in.
A lot of the old bunk bottoms could be repurposed, as the previous shipwright had different ideas from me. Now we are getting to where I want to be.  The shelves will hold plastic crates as drawers, and measurements are more or less standardised for them. The bunks are almost done, and the pilot berth bottom is in and sealed.

The nav table and the saloon table are made, but will only be fitted after the cushions are made and installed.


Nav table.


 Working on the boat can become lonely. Apart from Saturdays when Phineas anbd David are free to help, and Shahnaz occasionally giving a hand, it is easy to lose motivation. Yet every time I arrive the two geese come running to check up on me, and, reluctantly, to accept some grain. I wonder if I should sign them up as crew?

Next up: Some steel work, electrics, sanding, painting, sanding, painting...



And the seats work.
Cushions to follow.
Geese checking up on the progress. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Getting a handle on the interior

Galley cabinets. 
A few hitches, but Phineas is progressing with the forecabin panelling. A meltdown of my old Black & Decker circular saw slowed things down, and all modern saws are beyond my little generator's power supply capabilities. At last I found an old Makita 800 Watt saw, and this weekend it will buzz! The main salon seating/bunks await.

I am almost done with the galley cabinets. Nylon catches inside keep them closed, but I am looking for a more positive way to secure them. The doors swing down, and plastic trays will go inside to hold the stuff. I am planning to have a countertop stove and collapsible wash basin for a beginning, until I can find the right stuff.
Companionway ladder with hand rail/grab handle

David mounting a grab handle. 
We fitted the grab handles and handrail for the companionway. I stressed over it for weeks, and finally got going, but it took David to work out a way to drill through the one handle, the panel and into the second handle. The last gets a brass insert, the first handle gets its holes recessed, and then stainless steel Allen bolts go in. I only had to ream two bolt holes.

And true to Doug of SV Seeker's motto: "I learnt so much from my mistakes, I plan to make some more." I thought to try bending pipes myself. Plywood cut with a jigsaw, turned in the drill, steel angle legs, but no cigar: the 20mm mild steel pipe does not bend smoothly. So I will have the swim platform, canopy hoops and interior steel grab handles, which will also serve as hardpoints for lifting things like batteries, bent professionally.


No, not working, at least not well enough.



Sunday, June 4, 2017

Interior work continues

Woodwork goes slow and I am not patient. Fortunately Phineas helps keep me in control. He is a painstaking and careful joiner, and enjoys making panels fit perfectly. Most of the galley is done, except for the doors, which needs final trimming and sanding before they go on.


Phineas trimming a panel. 
The companionway ladder is in and looks good, but I must get to making handholds now.

Fifth fitting. Almost there.
I was lucky to have some helpers over the past weeks. Well, some helped more than others. Still, a pleasure.
Brother, you missed one! Diederick and Isabelle installing floor panels. 

Painting is another job I am not good at. For me it is a question of slapping on a lot of paint and smoothing it out. Madame could contain herself, and provided some expert guidance. We will see if it has rubbed off when I do the galley doors..


So that's how it's done! 


Tools came to my attention. My cheap, light and friendly Ryobi drill started coughing and eventually cut out altogether. The problem is the switch. Amazon has one for $ 4.80, but here it sells for at least double, if you can get it. I may get lucky, but runnning down the possibilities will take time.



The offending switch. Small, but important. 

I did manage to resuscitate a Bosch cordless screwdriver and drill, by removing the batteries, and putting a cord on, then running it from an old gate motor battery. Works like a charm, but needs a bit of fettling. It will go on the boat and run off the 12 volt system.

Cordless drill, cordless no longer


 And the set square... We had a torrid time, Phineas and I, to get a panel to fit. No matter how careful the measurements, it ended up out of square. Until we checked the set square. Somehow it was out. Dropped? Never! Not on your life! It must have been perfectly calibtrated when my grandfather bought it. Well, I had to splurge and buy a new one. Now I have an excuse for all the bad language over the years, when I tried to make square joints! Let it not be said that a bad craftsman blames his tools.


When a square is no longer square...

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Bits and pieces

Base for the toilet, and pan for the shower, with
insulation in and cladding coming on. 
Work has suffered from all sorts of interrruptions, but now a few public holidays, visiting friends, and other helpers has enabled me to make some serious progress.

We are still fitting out the interior and planking the lazarette, but we are now ready to tackle the bathroom, or heads to use the maritime term. The kitchen or galley will soon follow.

In the meantime we did bits and pieces: Iain, Megan and Malcolm came visiting and helped do the planks that go under the forward bunk.

Iain showing how it should be done.
Megan sanding. We will get to Hawaii a bit later.
David came along to help with the masts, and we discovered a problem. The traditional way of staying a mast has loops of cable going over the masthead and resting on blocks of wood. On our metal version the 'blocks' are all too small, so David welded loops on as well. We will have to see how this works out in real life.

Malcolm sanding finger holes. 
And Phineas helped put the shower basin, toilet base, and panels in, and started on the side cladding of the heads. Trevor visited and suggested thht we clad the heads in aluminium, but the plywood is already bought.

As usual comments are welcome.



Dog inspection: Companionway ladder.


Ladder almost done. Phineas has reason to be proud. 
David working on the masthead. 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

More woodwork, and leaks!

Planking goes on to wooden blocks glued to the hull with Sika
The woodwork is still inching along, but now Phineas has joined the crew, and he has already told me off for not sawing the planks straight enough. We are planking the lazarette, using 100mm (mostly) wide strips of 12mm Spruce plywood. It is an education for a kitchen cupboard maker like Phineas to work on a boat where no lines are straight, but he is coping admirably.

Now to get them to fit. 
Recently Prince tackled the accumulated dirt, and two buckets of water flung over the deck showed up water leaks in the forward portlights. (The deck hatches also leak, that is another problem seeking a solution.) David and I had to bite the bullet: The portlights had to come out, we had to (try to) clean up the old Sika, and they had to be rebedded. The problem is the very gently curve of the front of the cabin. The Lewmar portlights are straight, so something had to make up the difference, and the previous attempt did not provide enough Sika. Well, they are in, and sonce we expect a lot of rain this week, results of Tropical Cyclone Dineo, we will have some sort of real life testing.
Prince enthusiastic about the washing

The coming weeks will see a lot of interruptions, but we must soldier on.



Sticky stuff
What a mess!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Of sails and blocks...

Unpicking is not fun.
While I am still edging along with the woodwork, we have given more attention to the sails. The foresail is done except for a few quality control issues, and the mainsail is almost there. Problem is, if you get something wrong, there is a LOT of unpicking to do. Been there, done it... But the elation of having completed the seams are apparent.

Done! At least almost. Note quality controller
in the background. 
I also started finalising the rigging. Now, the old salts made up their steel wire stays going around the Horn. I found out why they don't do it any more: It is bloody hard work, and hard on the hands too. So when a friendly guy offered to do it professionally at a good price, my penchant for the historical method vanished. But I am still going to go for traditional deadeyes and galvanised wire stays instead of stainless steel.

First router jig. Not so great. Note jagged groove
in the deadeye. 
I had some deadeyes made up from a few planks of Mvule wood we brought back from Uganda. Traditionally the old salts used teak, but that is a little hard to find here. And I needed more deadeyes, and the Mvule was not enough. Also, I noticed that it was cracking.

But more important: The jig I made for routing the groove in the Mvule was not so clever. The router did not like it, and grabbed the wood....Don't argue with a router!

So I tested a piece of engineering plastig I was given as a sample, then went and bought more. It is called Polystone G, and seems rather impervious to sun. At least I hope so!

Polystone seems to be a HDPE and is said to be good for making tanks! In front of my favourite plastics place they have a slab of it bridging a small channel. It has been there for years, and shows no weathering despite being in the direct sun.

Don't argue with a router!
So I made a jig to bandsaw the 24 deadeyes from the plastic, broke one blade, and then made a better router jig where you cannot get your finger into the bit unless you really try. Results look good. Now to have the stays made up, then to get the masts up! What fun!



Bandsaw and deadeye blanks

Jig mark 2 for routing deadeyes.