Over the past two weeks Tasmania has let us know who’s boss, in her own particular way. Sunday before last I woke at 5.30am to the sound of wind and rain. I checked my weather APP and was alarmed to see that we were experiencing 60 kph winds, from the east. Our build site is well protected from the west, but open to the east. Sleep was impossible, so up I got and off to check that all was well. It was pitch black when I got to Selah. Alarmingly by my head-lights I could see that the first frame of the shelter was being lifted by the wind gusts having come loose from its footing. Driving rain was making its way into the open end, but fortunately the build itself was well protected by the tarps Deb & I had fitted before knocking off the previous Friday. I spent a couple of hours re-enforcing the shelter with additional star pickets and fencing wire. Deb joined me, and together we lashed everything down with additional tarps and generally fussed around. The wind was ferocious: the rain unrelenting. By midday we had done as much as we could, and we left Selah in God’s care and went home to a warm fire and the news of massive storm damage along the east coast, floods in Latrobe (15 minutes away) with tragic loss of life.
Monday morning we returned and were pleased to find the shelter still standing, relatively unscathed and an undamaged Selah. We had a slow week, as wind and rain punctuated the days and we invested a day sewing fitted rain covers to protect the unfinished hull. The first layer of the keelson was glued down and the frames/bulkheads were fixed down with epoxy and stainless screws. We also fitted the crash bulkhead, part of the bow (front) stem assembly. This is perhaps the most complicated part of the build so far, with acute intersections and beveled notches.
We used the laser level to set up the frames and check for twist. It took the best part of the day, but were pleased that they were all accurate to within a few millimetres.
Today we tackled our first big lay-up, gluing the second layer of the keelson. Deb mixed the epoxy, thickened with 403 thickner, while I spread it with a notched squeegee. Epoxy has a pot life of around 20 minutes, so the pressure was on. All went well though, and we were happy with the final result, confident we achieved 100% glue coverage, for maximum strength. The keelson is the backbone of the boat, and a vital structural element.