Things we do on a rainy day

Well Selah has survived yet another wild nor’easter since our last post. She certainly has had a baptism of fire in her short life. If nothing else, it has reinforced in us the necessity of building strength into every joint. On the eve of the storm I had considered pulling down the big tarp from the shelter, but thought we would be OK. However, early the next morning  I was woken to the sound of strong gusts, and checked MetEye to see an upgraded forecast of 70+ knots from the NE. Up we got and straight to the block before the increasing wind made it too dangerous to manage the giant tarp. Thankfully it come down without damage, but it did feel a bit like reefing an old square rigger as it thrashed about. It was the right decision as later we were hit with 100 kph gusts and driving rain. There was wide-spread power outages throughout most of the state, and considerable damage to property. Selah came through unscathed, and was kept dry by a double layer of tarps. It’s amazing how things have turned up just when we need them. Only a couple of days before, Rob, my father-in-law dropped off a big, heavy caravan tarp he thought we may find useful. We slept well that night!

The big tarp down, reefed to the yard arm, Selah battened down and double tarped to ride out the storm. Feels like we are at sea already.

We have a list of rain day jobs to keep us occupied on such days so after securing Selah,  we headed inside the workshop to fibreglass the rudder posts. We had previously ordered the rudder assemblies from Alan McNamee, a boat builder who is the go-to-guy for Easy component fabrication. He supplied the two PVC rudder posts, machined bearings and 50mm schedule 40 stainless steel shafts, with welded rudder tangs.

The plans call for the PVC posts to be sheeved with 5 layers of 200g fibreglass. I adapted some pine stands Russell had lying around, to support the posts as we wrapped them in the glass cloth. It was our first look at the Colan fiberglass we had purchased weeks before, upon recommendation from Chris Guthry of Outback Dreamer, another Sarah builder. Click here for his website.  Its top quality fiber. Australian made as well.


The job went well. We had been told we may have difficulty getting the epoxy to cure in the cooler climate, but have not encountered any difficulty. If anything the longer pot-life has taken some pressure off, especially with the bigger lay-ups. The epoxy is stored in a room which is keep warm by a hot water cylinder, and we ensure it is properly activated before applying it to the job. Outside the tempest blew, and the gusts became stronger and stronger. Eventually we lost power at 3 pm but by then we had just about finished, so we cleaned up, checked on Selah one more time, and went home to sit in candlelight by the wood fire.

Over the next few days, as we waited out the storm, we kept busy. Deb double coated all the hull sheets we had dry fitted previously with two coats of resin. Another coat will go on prior to painting. (After dry-fitting, we had taken them all back off the hull, and brought them inside in anticipation of the weather.) I finished some fiddly carpentry jobs, shaping and fitting the end caps onto the keels, and fitting the side sheets. The keels are ready to be fitted as soon as the hulls are sheeted.

Dry fitting the hull sheets. This was taken the day before the big storm.
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After dry fitting the hull sheets, they were all taken off again for resin coating in preparation for gluing.

After the weather eased we went straight into planking. Around 100 holes are pre-drilled for the 1″ 6g stainless screws at 100mm centres. The screws are pre-loaded, prior to the sheet being offered to the hull (having been previously cut to fit), glued with epoxy and screwed in place. The excess glue is cleaned up immediately and used to fit the butt-joints in place.

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Pre – drilling the sheets. We have around 11,000 stainless screws to fit throughout this build.
Cleaning up and filling the screw holes takes longer than fitting! Each sheet currently takes us around 1.5 hours to fit and clean, but we are getting faster.
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Gluing and screwing the sheets back on.

At some stage we will refit the big tarp. This time we will suspend it from beneath the frame, so that we can drop, and hoist again quickly.

4 thoughts on “Things we do on a rainy day

  1. In a big storm, our metal building was blown away from around our two upside down hulls. But the hulls came through fine. That was two years ago. We rebuilt the building around the hulls and now the hulls are a right side up catamaran with no deck yet. It is wonderful to read about your efforts on your adventure and how you are doing it together. Much courage to you both. It would be an honor to meet you one day.


    • Many thanks for your comments, and every blessing for your mighty build! It would be great to catch up one day. No plans on our part to cross oceans in Selah (are you in the US?), but you never know what the future holds.


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