Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Fiberglass Work Begins

The glass work is underway. A big chunk of initial work was masking off the engine room. All the cutting is done with a vacuum right at the cutting point, but this stuff still goes everywhere, so protection is critical.

Both stringers are now cut out, and have surfaced the first problem. You can see old putty oozing out of the joint. It was presumably used to set the stringer prior to tabbing it in. Getting all that cleaned out will be the next step and will add some time and $$.

Also below are a couple of shots of the equipment itself. The white castled disks are the base mounting plates, and the flat stainless disks are the outside backing plates. They are through-bolted together to form a sandwich around the hull. The main actuator then mounts to the castled plate. I'll try to get a picture of that later today.
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Comments and discussion on this post:

Osirissail: I think you are doing it correctly. Nautical Architects are no different than Marine Surveyors and other Marine "specialists". There are a few that know what they are doing and a lot that are politely put - less than knowledgeable and sometimes so full of themselves that they are a hazard.
- - Following what the actual boat manufacturer has done in similar installations is as close to the best way as you can get. And a reputable, knowledgeable MA would simply do the same thing - follow the manufacturer's installation - and charge you a great deal of money to tell you that.

capn_billl: I would focus on the reinforcement also. That will be key. On another note, did you look at the gyro stabilizers? Will you also be using paravanes? Are you planning any crossings?

Tanglewood: Yes, I have several reference boats including shop drawings from their engineering department.

My theory is that you get to choose the beating to get, but you don't get to avoid it. Maybe it's just me, but all too often I find that having work done by "experts" ends up being more work for me and/or results in a crappy job than doing it myself. More work because I have to go back to get them to correct mistakes and/or fix the other things they broke, and crappy job because too often "expert" shops have people doing the work who are not so expert.

We've probably all experienced this having our cars worked on, and it's been the story of this boat since I bought it used last fall. I'll spare you all the details, but all the "expert" work done on the boat after it was delivered from the factory, and that I inherited when I bought the boat, was a nightmare. Poorly designed electronics setup, bimini almost completely blocking forward radar visibility, grossly undersized autopilot, inadequate gauge wiring including a couple of distinct fire hazards, a washer/dryer installation that blocked closure of a seacock, etc. I've been fixing all that over the past month while finalizing the stabilizer plans and getting the fiberglass guy lined up.

Speaking of which, I've learned over the years what things I'm good at and what I'm not good at. Anything electrical or mechanical I can do - no problem. But fiber glass work, fine woodworking, car body repairs - forget it. I totally suck at it. I know this as the result of the aforementioned beatings, and realize it's better to give my wallet a beating on those projects.

Anyway, I'm going on. Everyone will have different risk tolerances and different appetites for taking on projects themselves. And this is a big project. I tried to hire it out initially, but the beating to my wallet relative to the work being done, and relative to my skills, combined to set me off in this direction. It will be interesting to see how I feel about it when I get to the end......

Tanglewood:  I looked at gyros, but rejected them pretty early on. The up-side with them is that they provide stabilization when at anchor. Fin stabilizers now have this capability too, but I did not go for it. My primary reason for passing on both is the need to run a generator all the time to power them. I've got a big stink-pot of a power boat, but when the end of the day rolls around, the sailor in me comes out. It's all batteries, inverters, LED lights, and a quiet night at anchor. A genset running all the time just isn't going to happen, so that ruled out any form of stabilization at rest.

The other issue with a gyro is the size. It would have completely filled my laz, and I need the space. My take is that they are a good fit for larger boats that have the space, and boats that have 24x7 genset operation anyway.

I don't have paravanes. Fitting them probably would have been just as much of a structural engineering project, and I get real nervous with large objects swinging around. Fin stabilizers of course operate on the same principal, but are active and not swinging from chains.

As for crossings, I guess it's all relative. Most of our cruising is in the north east US where 4-6 ft seas are quite common. We don't want to be stuck in port waiting for perfect weather. A "crossing" for us would be 40nm across Mass Bay, or 70nm from Gloucester to Portland. In both cases you can be 10+nm off shore with nothing in the way for 3000nm depending on wind direction.

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