The end of our saloon or end of half term or both?

We ended with a day of better weather and real progress.

We were able to test the bow roller with the anchor despite not having been able to do any outside epoxy work all week.

Our 30kg Spade anchor fitted nicely.

And the remodelling of the saloon went through a further destructive stage.

In the process we have made progress towards a new layout with slightly reduced seating in return for a better guest double bed; a much larger galley, more comfortable seating and a better table position when there are only two of us; more storage space and considerably more structural strength.

At least that is what we are hoping to create. Stay tuned to see if we can achieve all this!

Another stormy day outside

In fact there has been so much rain that when we did leave the boat to use the clubhouse facilities our ladder was standing in a bit of a lake and we had to paddle.

Despite this we decided to clear the port side of the saloon to improve the access for fitting our new chainplate backing plates. Again we found that the unpainted plywood used for the soffit was rather mouldy and rotten in a few places. The cupboards also had mould which was deep in the disgusting 1970’s mustard colour vinyl.

We have a nice timelapse of removing the cupboards which should make it into our next Refit Progress video.

We have some decision making to do about the u-shaped settee. It isn’t angled and sized right for lounging comfort. So we will probably tweak it a little to be as comfortable as possible for dining or working at the table (it will also make a double bed for guests). We are also still planning how to use the space for storage.

One real oddity is how the forward most chainplate bolt has had the nut glassed in against the bulkhead to the forward heads. It seems unlikely the factory would have done this one differently to all the others.

It is also odd that we have 4 10″ mooring cleats with very varied bolt sizes, 3 with large backing plates (like 10x the size of the ones for the chainplate bolts) and one with just tiny washers.

Our new backing plates are large enough so that each one can be for both a chainplate and a mooring cleat.

The backing plate for the cap shroud is going to be tied down the side of the hull to the first stringer with a combination of FR4 (with epoxy fillets) and glassfibre cloth with epoxy resin. This will replace the stainless steel strap bolted to the plywood knee (currently much more substantial on the port side).

The wind has been gusting to 53mph (Force 9) according to the Met Office, with the heavy rain this has uncovered a few small leaks. Generally where we have temporary bathroom sealant in holes where we have removed bolts that are going to be replaced by something different. I’ve just noticed a window bolt that is weeping a little so that will need tightening tomorrow.

We spent the evening in the NWVYC clubhouse as I needed the better WiFi for some work. While we were there Jane spliced two more mizzen chainplate loops. They are looking great, we are really looking forward to finishing refurbishing the masts in the Sprint and getting them both up.

Meanwhile I’m trying to work out how to build a test rig for the chainplate loops that will allow us to get enough pull on them so that the knot will properly tighten up. Remember that our chainplate loops are based on the technique for a soft shackle where the 6mm version broke at 64Kn (which is approx 6,500 kg).

So a 6mm dyneema chainplate loop would break at about 6,500 kg which is more than double the breaking strength of the 6 mm stainless steel shrouds we are replacing. Yet our chainplate loops are made from 9mm dyneema. Seems like we have a pretty huge safety margin here!

It does mean that I’d like to be able to get in the order of 1,000kg pull on the chainplate loops to get the knot to tighten to a stable point. So I need a “plate” with a 20mm hole (so the chainplate loop can be pulled through the hole with the knot stopping it coming all the way through) that can withstand a 1,000kg pull. Plus I need to be able to achieve the 1,000kg pull (and have a measure to know I’ve done it). H’mm.

Mixed bag progress

Today was definitely another no outside jobs day. So we went to Aldi in the morning and got soaked as we came out.

In the afternoon we worked on different things.

Dyneema Chainplates

Jane started learning Dyneema splicing and after a practice, she produced our first real Mizzen chainplate:

This works in this way. The knot stays below the backing plate. The eye (with the low friction ring removed) goes up through a hole in the backing plate and the deck above it, to emerge above the deck. The hole is, of course, lined with epoxy and will have been sanded and rounded off so it is very smooth. The low friction ring is then put back into the loop. This is now your chainplate. Our shrouds will end with another low friction ring and they will be attached to the chainplate with a dyneema lashing. This lashing will be used to tension the shroud (and take out any creep).

Once the chainplate is fitted we have two issues to address. One is protecting the Dyneema from damage and the second is to stop water running into the hole and wicking down the dyneema so that it drips into the cabin.

First we need to stop the dyneema chainplate from being damaged. There are three main ways damage is likely:

  • dirt washing into the hole in the deck and cutting into the Dyneema.
  • ropes rubbing against the Dyneema where it is visible above the deck and causing chafe.
  • Sunlight causing UV damage which weakens the dyneema.

We have a two part solution to protect against all these forms of damage.

On the deck we fix a “mushroom” around the hole, with the hole extending through the middle of the mushroom. This stops water running down the deck going into the hole. Then we have a Sunbrella fabric sleeve that fits around the chainplate and lashing. At the bottom this is drawn tight around the base of the mushroom, at the top it is a close fit around the shroud above the lashing. The fabric stops larger waves getting into the hole and reduces the amount of water that will wick all the way down. It also protects the lashing and chainplate from UV and chafe.

Below deck we create a simple watertight “box” around the knot. This catches any water that wicks all the way down and can be easily removed to empty it and inspect the dyneema chainplate knot.

The whole chainplate can be removed for inspection by taking off the fabric sleeve, slackening the lashing and pulling out the chainplate from below. With a 2.5m dyneema line and a few minutes work we can make a replacement which can be fitted anywhere in the world, even at sea.

Navigation destruction

Meanwhile, I tackled removing the plywood soffit from the underside of the deck above the navigation table. The vinyl headlining had fallen off this very early on due to being very wet from the window above leaking. As expected the hidden side of this plywood showed a lot of water damage.

Then I removed the vinyl from the side of the hull and cut out the plywood that it was stuck to. This was much thicker than the plywood lining has been elsewhere, presumably to provide a good surface to fit instruments to. Now we can reach the bolts for the genoa track and for the gate stanchions – both hidden and unchecked for 44 years.

As you can see the actual chart table has significant water damage. Long term our plan is to remove the whole chart table. We will do on passage navigation and pilotage from the wheelhouse (which we will be able to pretty much fully enclose) so the chart table won’t be needed.

Overall, quite a bit of rubbish removed from the boat:

We haven’t fully decided what to put in this space. The current favourite idea is a comfy forward facing chair with small desk. It should be comfortable to sit in when sailing and also suitable as a quiet place to sit and do computer work. We will wait to see if we do want to fit a Refleks diesel heater, if so then that will go alongside the desk.

We have realised that we can simplify our galley if we can use the electric “Instant Pot” (actually a KingPro branded version) in the current navigation area. At the moment it can just sit on the navigation table (as can an electric filter coffee machine). However, eventually we want a gimballed shelf that we can put up over the desk whenever we want to use one of these appliances at sea. This means that our galley can have a permanent gimballed shelf for the microwave and for one of the induction hobs which is a lot simpler than our original plan.

So we ended up quite happy with today’s progress. Hopefully better weather tomorrow so we can make easier progress.

Calm amidst the wind

Today is a deliberately slow day, a chance for us to do not a lot, mostly staying in our cozy cabin while the wind rages outside. Mostly Beaufort force 6 gusting to force 8 according to the Met Office.

We did have a look at the bow roller, the dry fit has gone well although it did end up with some epoxy holding the bow roller in place. A little trim with the multicutter took care of that. Very happy with how it looks.

The next jobs (once some more epoxy arrives) will be some sanding and grinding, then the round supports for the pulpit. After that we can mix up some epoxy fairing filler and get it all smooth and rounded. Then we can drill for the bolts and actually fit the bow roller!!!

Meanwhile, there is plenty to do on the inside, once we get past this rest day 🙂