Junk Rig Conversion - Part 1: Progress continues...

03 01 2013 Posted by Daniel

I’ve been able to make some good progress these past few weeks on the boat repairs and preparations for the new mast configuration. Before I get to the updates, though, I’ve found a few articles recently that were really thought provoking that I hope to share with you.

The Archdruid Report summarizes 2012 and makes some practical observations on what it means to really want to change the world.

Humans In Design wonders who the trains in your city are really built for, and takes the time to do some fascinating discovery.

And Dmitry Orlov, a former high-energy particle physicist and fellow sailor, makes his own astute observations particularly on the state of the energy economy at this critical juncture.

Good reading during the slow times as business ramps up again after the extended holidays.

Ok, on to the update on boat progress, for those of you so interested.

Last time I left you with a hole in the cabintop where a hatch had been. In the intervening period, I’ve installed a 3/4” thick laminate of high quality plywood as a core, and covered it with 1/4” of fiberglass on the exterior side and 1/8” of fiberglass on the interior side. I used 17 oz. biaxial and 18 oz. cloth on the outside, 12 oz. biaxial and 10 oz. cloth on the inside. I painted the outside with Kiwigrip nonskid to protect it from UV damage, but I’ll likely have to repaint the whole deck again after installing the partners and stepping the masts as that will likely result in new scuffs and scrapes, so I’ve held off on a full-out deck repair and cleanup until then. In the meantime, though, I’ve also removed a bunch of useless, extraneous, or now-redundant deck hardware and discovered some horrible bedding techniques in the process. Hopefully I’ve now stopped a surprising quantity of core leaks whilst cleaning the deck up and making a LOT of nice open clear room to store Terraporte, the rowing tender.

The plan is to replace this hatch once the new rig is in and I can determine a suitable place for the replacement to be located that won’t compromise the structure of the cabin top.

More update after this first set of photos, keep reading!

After the hatch was removed and the deck reinforced, I set to work on the mast step. This required some serious heavy support down in the keel, sufficient to take some massive loads as the mast and full force of the wind on the rig is supported solely by this step and the deck partners - there are no stays or shrouds on the new rig and the mast is entirely self supported. So these supports must be strong and durable.

Tad, my architect, sent me some great plans for the mast step, and I set about constructing them. The first step was the worst: grinding a large section of the keel down to bare, clean fiberglass so that I could make solid epoxy bonds for the new structure. Despite taping plastic sheeting all over the entire area and covering the rest of the boat in it, there was still enough horrid fiberglass dust created that a thin film of it was on EVERYTHING in the whole boat when I was finished. It took a week to get that dust out of most places and I still open a locker and get a face full of it from time to time. It’s nasty, horrid stuff.

But the keel was finally solid and ready to accept the “floors” as they are called in the shipbuilding trade. These floors aren’t what you think of as a floor, in fact they run vertically and are only 3” thick. But they are super solid and the plan is to span the three floors with heavy timber to create the actual mast step itself, distributing the load across a wider section of keel and providing a redundant bond to the hull. I laid some PVC pipe cut in half down in the fore and aft floors to provide drainage. The middle floor was on the transition between the lead ballast and a spare fuel tank and so I drilled a hole for a solid pipe to provide the angle needed for a smooth flow back to the main bilge. Now that everything’s cured in place, the plan is to rough it all up, lay some heavy cloth over it to provide additional reinforcement, and then paint it and cover it with the heavy mast step timbers.

Stay tuned - next up we’ll be working on deck reinforcements and battery relocation!