Decking begins

After two months of sanding and painting, its been good to get back to fabrication. Our focus is the deck, followed by the turret & targa bar.

Before we could begin installing the fore-decks we needed to complete the fore-beam. We realised that finishing the forebeam in its installed position would be extremely difficult in situ, 2.3 meters in the air, so we took it down so we could work at ground level. We then cut a length of 150mm PVC pipe in half lengthways, and fitted it to the forward face of the beam. Then Deb fiberglassed it into position with two layers of glass.


The next step was to fiberglass electrical conduit onto the top of the rear face. This will later be used to fix the trampolines in place.IMG_0274

Then we troweled on a coat of Q-Cell.  We have been fortunate to have the use of the workshop while Russ is on holidays. With the recent cold snap, our epoxy curing times have blown out to more than 4 days, even using fast hardener. The workshop has a wood heater, which has help speed things up a little.

After the Qcell is cured and some stainless steel bridle bolts are attached,  we can permanently re-install the forebeam.

While Deb was busy on the forebeam, Pete worked on the fore-decks, installing stringers and frames to support the deck panels.

We also decided to double up on the fiberglass re-enforcing in the anchor well, with 450 double bias tape, before fixing the deck.
We then installed the deck stringers as per the plans. Provision was made for deck hatches, anchor winch and cleat.
All the fore-decking has been rough cut ready for gluing down.
Fabricating fore-decking is physically demanding as it’s all done from ladders. Access to scaffolding would have made things much easier.

Another major job finished was machining out the notches for the deck stringers. As there were 40 to be done, it was worth the time to fabricate a jig for the router.

The jig enabled us to match the stringer angles and ensure consistent clearances.

The decking above the sleeping cabins span 3m x 2.3m each without any supports. Covering this space with decking requires some interesting timber engineering, utilising the strength of compound curves.

A temporary form was cut to match the camber (curve) of the frames. This has to be strong enough to take the pressure of the stringers, that later will be bent over it.
A 68 x 18mm beam spans the entire width of the hull. It is later fabricated into an I beam that will maintain its curve after the supports are removed. It interlocks with vertical stringers that run fore-aft. The compound curve of the deck can be seen here. Technically flat panels can’t be bent into a compound curve (two directions), but in reality it is possible with moderate curves and the natural flexibilty of plywood.

The designer warned us that mounting this beam is one the trickiest woodworking procedures of the build. The beam is six metres long, cambered, angled 12 degrees from horizontal, and is notched at both ends with visible joins that are angled on three planes. Pete lost a bit of sleep figuring out the best way to tackle the job. In the end, he realised that our decision to install a storage locker between the cabins gave the opportunity to cheat by cutting the beam in two. It could be re-joined with a doubler in the locker that would be invisible in the ajoining sleeping cabins. This made things heaps easier. He then used a piece of scrap to practice the notch joins, to give him confidence to cut the real ones. If people wonder why boat building takes so long here is a classic example. In all, it took us two days to set-up and install this one component.

The troublesome notches that caused Pete to loose sleep!
Smokey grabbing the last patch of afternoon sun.

Stingers were installed in the fore-peak areas, as per the plans, and the decking was rough-cut to suit. The foredecks incorporate a storage locker each. These are accessed by overhead hatches, and being external, are fiberglassed and drained to the outside.

Deb fiberglassing the starboard forward locker. This is where we will position the gas bottles. Its been necessary to use a small heater to heat the resin.
Port locker.

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