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Day of Great Progress

posted May 22, 2011, 7:23 PM by Christopher Hubbell
Yet again I am indebted to my fabulous wife for tolerating a boat yard marathon while she toiled against the maintenance of our home single-handed.  The outcome of this spousal sacrifice was that the bow hatch is now installed in Ravat, and looking very nice.  All in all the installation went as planned to the degree that any boat project does.  The new hatch looks infinitely better than the old one, and works well too. 

May I suggest again that if you plan to retrofit a Lewmar Medium Profile hatch into a Good Old Boat, get the trim and screen kit.  Just trust me, it makes things look better and saves you hassle.  The screen rocks too.  The only problem so far is that when dumb bees fly into my cabin, they have lost an escape vector.  I had a pterodactyl-yellow-jacket mutant hybrid bombing around the cabin today completely freaking me out.  Not sure how much of my stress was the direct result of that screen, but I'm thinking about fitting it with explosive bolts in case of emergency.

I was also able to make the final hole in the hull for my depth transducer.  That wraps up my through-hull cutting at long last.  After I clean the hull I can barrier-coat the fairing block and get all the through hulls installed.  After all the sanding and cutting that's gone on over the past week the inside of Ravat was a mess.  I did a thorough job with the shop vac and restored some civility to the interior before ascending to the cockpit to revisit the sole repairs.

Since I am relocating the engine controls from the old style tubes aft of the pedestal into the pedestal I had an extra set of holes for the tubes and mounting brackets.  I had previously done the 12:1 grind out and filled them with eight layers of 10 oz. cloth.  This was ready to grind out, and grind them I did.  The repairs came out great and I was able to clean up and put down a good layer of gel coat.  I'm still not quite in full mastery of predicting how much gel coat will shrink, so I may need to skim coat it to get everything flush.  I anticipate it will be pretty close though.  My only predicament is that the sole is 100% non-skid, and I definitely have not mastered putting non-skid patterns into gel coat.  I'm also not ready to paint the sole, so not really sure what direction I'll go in as I wrap up this repair.  I may just roll with a funny looking spot in the interest of getting things done.  The important thing is that the fiberglass is protected.

So what's next?  Yikes, I still have a lot to do before I launch, but I'm looking closely at what else needs to be done on dry land and needs to be done before I burn out on the big nasty work.   I figure any day now I'll pass out and swear never to break out a grinder or epoxy again.  Here's what I came up with:

  • Pump out, remove and clean the fuel tank.  Reinstall with fuel level sending unit, replace straps if necessary.
  • Install support blocks for the cockpit locker separator boards.  These will stop them from caving in at the bottom under weight.
  • Paint the inside of locker and utility areas prior to installing things which I'll NEVER want to take out again.
  • Cut new separator boards, give 'em a layer of fiberglass for waterproofing as well as added strength and stiffness (to support sound deadening panels!)
  • Clean up the embarrassingly awful fiberglass job at the steering quadrant box in the transom.  Who ever did that job should be banned from boat work eternally.  Really, it's that bad.
  • Reinstall the pedestal, and connect the steering system and engine controls.
  • Crank out the electrical work and lanuch this boat!
Yeah, I have my work cut out for me.