Keel and rudder done …

This week was about preparing the boat for fiberglass. We fiberglassed the keel with four layers of 300 gsm glass and a 450 gsm Dynell protective boot and fitted it to the hull. We also applied Q cell and faired it up, ready for painting. It was not necessary to do this at this stage of the build, but we wanted to get some experience with glass and Q cell before tackling the starboard hull. Q cell is a very fine micro-balloon substance that is added to epoxy resin and troweled over the fiberglass in a manner not dissimilar to rendering a house. Its primary function is to fill the weave of the cloth to provide a smooth base for the high build undercoat that is applied later. It also adds another layer of waterproofing to the hull. Like a lot of epoxy jobs, it’s as much of an art as science, and takes a little getting used to. The trick is to apply the correct depth. Not too thick, wasting expensive materials, but not too thin leaving a rough irregular surface. It’s applied with metal trowels by hand.

We are now heading into the business end of finishing the starboard hull. There are some big jobs looming, that cannot be done in dribs and drabs. With epoxy work, each step must be done within 48 hours of each other, before it cures too hard. These are:

  1. Applying fiberglass across the entire hull.
  2. Sanding the fiberglass and touching up any irregularities, if any.
  3. Applying Q cell fairing compound across the bottom and topsides.
  4. Sanding the Q cell with the 6″ orbital.
  5. Torture boarding. A process of finish sanding with long sandpaper boards to “fair” the hull. This is done by hand, hence the name!
  6. Applying at least one coat of high build primer-undercoat.

The starboard hull will then be weather proof, and we can leave it to begin assembling the port hull.

Before any of that however now that the winter storms seem to be over, we must re-hoist the big tarp over the shelter, to provide a measure of weather protection. That’s our main priority for next week.

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Fiberglassing the keel. Stage one: edging, sanding, cleaning and bogging the screw holes.

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Stage two. Laying out the sheet.

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Stage three: wetting out the glass with epoxy resin. The glass is clear when properly wetted out. Four layers in total.

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Stage four: Dynell applied. Excess fiberglass trimmed. Deb prepping for the Q Cell fairing compound.

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Stage five. Q Cell applied and sanded back for a smooth surface. Another four layers of glass will be added below the Q cell line to join the keel to the hull, as per the plans, making 7 layers in total at the keel/hull intersection. Deb is applying Q Cell to the rudder.

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Pete drilling the 63mm hole for the rudder post. After expending so much energy building and sheeting, it seems weirdly wrong to be drilling a whacking big hole in your precious hull.

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Starboard rudder fiberglassed with two layers of 300 gsm glass and its Dynel protective “boot”. The rudders are designed to take some of the weight when the boat is beached.

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Starboard keel glued in place. The keels have three functions. To stiffen and strengthen the backbone, to spread the weight of the hulls when on the hard, and provide lateral resistance when sailing. The keel is glued on with copious amounts of epoxy, and 40mm SS  fasteners screwed up from inside.

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To mono hull sailors the keels look improbably small, but in actuality they are not. Combined, the two keels have the same area as a single keel 600 x 2400mm or 1.4 m2.

2 thoughts on “Keel and rudder done …

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