Page published 10 February 2021

Go to Top Just 17 - The Refit: Report #4

4 Sep 2011

As reported in my last post there was to be a bit of a lull in the work on Just 17. Almost as soon as I had posted the report of the work on Wednesday 24 August, posted on 25th, I was packing for a trip to France, a delayed birthday treat arranged by Diana. We went to stay with friends, near Carcasonne. I plan to go through my photographs and report on the walk we took through Trèbes along the Canal du Midi, but for now, here's an update on the work on Just 17.

In The Refit: Report #2, I said I had visited "Norfolk Fastenings" when I returned from Kenilworth. My plan had been to collect the bolts I'd ordered for the window frames on my way to Kenilworth and France. However, I was much later setting out than I had planned and abandoned the idea. Instead I called on my way back. The visit was a little frustrating, as I took with me a sample nut and bolt to double up the numbers I use on the gunwale rubbing strakes. However, the only bolts they had in stock were either too long or too short. So it looks as if I'll have to find somewhere else to get them.

Having stopped in Dereham, I then stopped in Norwich too. I called at B&Q to buy some of the paint I would be needing for inside the cabin. I had struggled to obtain it when I looked in Wroxham but after a bit of a struggle found it at B&Q. I use a water based primer for metal and wood with a Satinwood a water based top coat, so it is re-coatable really quickly.

The Hull Anti-fouled

Just 17 on Sunday, after the second coat of anti-foul had been applied to the hull. I was quite pleased with the straight edge that I achieved without the aid of masking tape or other aid.

Nothing was done on the boat itself on Tuesday 30 August and I was a little slow getting to work on the Wednesday following my return. That day consisted mainly of grinding the lower part of the door. It's frustrating work, as I constantly worry that I'm taking too much resin off in the wrong parts, so spend a lot of time not making too much progress while I repeatedly re-check the fit.

The grinding work continued of Thursday. Even now, I'm not 100% happy. I have concluded that originally the bolts were not placed at exactly the same height. Now I have installed the pads for the bolts level, it forced the door to hang at a slight angle. I think this is why I am having such difficulty getting the thing to fit well.

After a little more grinding on Friday, I discovered that I'd lost one of the bolt's handles and I now had no method of sliding the bolt. Roger came to the rescue with a small bolt that fitted and would act as a temporary handle, but I'll still have to buy a new bolt. I went off to buy both it and the paint, only to discover that Focus, at North Walsham, had closed, so I came home without the bolt. I did manage to buy the Hammerite Paint that I had agreed with Roger I would buy along with some "high build" primer. I had shown Roger how I had managed to gouge the bars in a couple of places when removing the faulty pop rivets. He thought such a primer might fill the pits I had made.

On Saturday I had a really messy day. I really should have remembered that the advice is that one shouldn't dry sand anti-foul. I gave the whole bottom of the hull a bit of a scrub with my wire brush attachment of my drill. The dust got everywhere, including up my nose even though I wore a face mask. It's strange to see a handkerchief full of blue when you sneeze!

After that I opened the new can of "Waterways Plus" that I've had for a couple of years and tried to give it a stir. It didn't seem to want to mix in spite of a lot of stirring. As I grovelled under the trailer, working on my back, the paint seemed to get everywhere. Nor did it seem to cover especially well. Sunday's second coat went on much better. Suddenly the paint seemed to have a single consistency and was much thicker. It covered well and I suffered only a couple of drips. It's a job I hate. Thank goodness that one is over.

Roger was now geared up to do the painting and we set to work in the garage, arranging a strip of wood with some nails hammered half home, between two step ladders. The primer went on well enough, although it failed to fill the deep gouges, all the minor scratches did disappear. Then Roger sprayed the Hammerite on one of the smaller strips as a test. I guess we should have known better. Hammerite doesn't seem to take on standard primer. It ran badly and had bubbles in it. It looks as if I shall be visiting Wilco, in North Walsham, again.

Spraying the Window Frames

Roger, my neighbour, applies the "high-build" primer. I guess I should have known that Hammerite wouldn't take to it.

Finally, as the rain began to fall, I went to work in the cabin. The original plan had been to prepare to paint it, with the stuff I had bought from B&Q. However, I hadn't realised how dusty the cabin was and spent the next half hour with a bucket and sponge. That persuaded me that I should really have a go with the Vax and clean the carpet on the cabin sides.

By now the rain was falling hard. The noise of the machine inside the confines of the cabin made it sound still louder than it is in a large room. What with the water from the machine and the rain outside, the cabin became a very hot and humid place to work. I was about three quarters of the way through the job when I couldn't get any more fluid out of the nozzle. I also realised that in its other mode the carpet brushes wouldn't turn. The machine is quite old and had many years hard service, not just doing normal carpet cleaning but also clearing up messes left by large elderly and ill dogs. It looks as if I may have to buy a replacement. I just need to wait until the carpet dries to see if that has to be immediately.

It's time to revisit and rework "Ian's List" and decide the present state of play. I had hoped that the boat would be ready for launch by the middle of the week. However, the weather forecast is not ideal:

Last time I said of the remaining tasks, "Apart from the lower part of the cabin door, it should all be straight forward". Now all I will say is that it's going to be a push to get it done by the end of the week, let alone midweek!

Go to Top Just 17 - The Refit: Report #5

6 Sep 2011

At last I'm beginning to feel close to the end of the job and approaching re-launch of Just 17. The rain today, except in the worst downpour, didn't stop me painting inside the cabin and the job is now complete. With that job done I can start bolting all the gear back onto the boat that I finished taking off last October.

While I did that, Roger was able to start spraying the black gloss finish to the window framing. Unfortunately, he is not 100% satisfied with what he achieved, so plans a second session tomorrow. The can says that one should allow 24 hours for the paint to harden, so it looks like I won't be able to see the frames refitted until Thursday.

The Window Framing

The Window Framing, after Roger had sprayed them gloss black.

But these latest snippets of news leaves me skipping over yesterdays tasks. I started the day early. The plan had been to glue the brackets that hold the electrics control panel back in place. However, I decided not to risk the panel dropping off the wall again and screwed on some extra pieces of wood so I could screw the brackets to the underside of the companionway step.

It wasn't until today that I realised that somewhere in the process of painting the cabin during which I shifted the panel and battery box several times, I mislaid the small push-on spade connector on the back of the cigar lighter socket. It means that the panel still hasn't been reconneted, even after finishing the cabin painting.

The Control Panel Brackets

The new brackets ready to receive the electrics control panel - when I manage to obtain a new connector.

After the panel bracket, I placed a wire brush in the chuck of my "Tesco Value" cordless drill and drained its battery stripping off any loose paint inside the cabin. I'm really glad I made the decision to do this as far more flaked off than I expected. It left me with the worry that maybe my confidence in the water-based paints I'm using is misplaced. I console myself that quite a bit of early oil-based paints seemed to come away as well. It seems that no finish in the cabin was going to survive last winter, when the cabin was effectively open to all the elements.

After vacuuming up all the mess I had created with the paint scraping I then glued in place the conduit that takes the cable from the solar panel to the charge controller. Two sections had dropped off over last winter in the extreme damp. I planned to use what I used to know as "Alraldite Instant". My new tube seems to have been rebranded as "Araldite SuperGlue+". The trouble is it wasn't super. In the past it had done exactly what was claimed on the label, setting hard in 90 seconds. Perhaps it was the low temperature, around 15°, but yesterday it was still only tacky after more than three minutes. Eventually, I managed to get it to hold and reinforced the Araldite with a strip of decorator's caulk along each length of the conduit. I have found it both an effective adhesive for the light weight of conduit and cable and, in a white cabin, a good way of disguising the presence of the conduit.

With the way prepared for painting the inside of the cabin, I undercoated fore hatch before deciding that I had better get the black gloss that Roger would need today. Wilco, at North Walsham, were good, happily changing the spray can for the type needed. I returned from that trip to undercoat the cabin. I am glad I went to buy the black paint when I did, because it took me the rest of the day to finish the undercoating. When I finished it was too dark to take photos of the day's progress.

While it was easy to start this report with the announcement that the cabin painting was finished, in fact, it took all day to finish the top coat. Yes, there were interruptions, for rain, making tea for Roger, lunch and so on, but it was still after six when I went indoors to change for my visit to Dad.

Back from Dad, and after my meal, I did a second light sanding of the rubbing strakes. The first was done a few days ago. I also sawed the scarfe joint in the new bit of timber and gave the old bits of timber a coat of "Five Year Woodstain". I hope to give them a second coat early tomorrow morning and then go off to buy the other bits and pieces I need to finsh things. This should be the additional bolts to give the strakes more support, the connector for the electrics panel and some more varnish.

Once I have them, I finally mean to get the electrics panel back in place. Then I'll do a rough fit of the new bit of wood to determine the correct length to cut it at when it's curved round the fore deck. Once cut, it will get a couple of coats of woodstain, and hopefully, be ready to fit before the end of the day.

However, that's going to be a moveable feast. One of the unknowns is how long it will take me to pluck up courage to decide where to cut the anti-slip pads from the roll. The small rectangular ones should be easy, the triangular ones only slightly trickier. However, the long strips on the cabin roof, I realised the other day, are slightly curved and I don't have enough spare for a second attempt, should I get the curve wrong! The job is on the agenda for tomorrow as Thursday promises more prolonged rain.

If cutting the pads goes really well, then the theory is, that before the woodstain to dry I'll be able to fit everything else back on the boat - with the exception of the window frames. It won't matter about fitting them in the rain, nor about fitting the rubbing strakes. It just means I'll get wet! If things go as slowly as they have up till now, then I won't succeed in finding time to rub down all the varnished wood inside the cabin, and give it another coat, but it is a job I'd like to do before relaunch, if I possibly can.

Currently, the forecast for Friday suggests they'll be sunny intervals, with a high of 23° and a 17mph south westerly wind. If that holds good, it would be a great day to get Just 17 launched and to her mooring!

I almost forgot - the invoice for the boat storage and re-paint arrived today. It points out they've only charged me for six months, not the eight I'd been there, doing the sanding down.

Go to Top Just 17 - The Refit: Report #6

7 Sep 2011

So much for yesterday's idea of starting the day by giving the strakes a second coat of wood stain. When I got out to the boat, shortly after nine o' clock, I changed my mind and decided to start with the anti-slip pads.

I didn't mention, when writing yesterday's report, that the forecast I read suggested there would be rain at lunch time, Not knowing how long it would take, it seemed prudent to maximise use of the sun rather than do the indoor task of staining the strakes. As it turned out it was dry all day and, perhaps I could have got the various bits of shopping done, but at least I have a job I wasn't looking forward to out of the way.

I can find fault with my cutting of the anti-slip pads but I don't think anyone else would notice. Although I had been worried about going for black material, rather than the grey that I know early SeaHawks had, I am pleased with the effect. I am also pleased with the adhesive. When the roll arrived in the post I peeled back a small corner of the backing paper to test how tacky it was, I was worried then but shouldn't have been. The adhesive is indeed fierce and was very reluctant to peel back when I slightly misaligned one piece as I stuck it down.

After the anti-slip pads, I next tackled the pulpit. I had noticed a while back that the bow support appeared more upright than it should be and both rear feet were slightly raised at their leading edge, forward of the point where the bolts go through the deck. These two things persuaded me that it must have suffered an impact at some point. I did once tried to put it right, but I didn't ever have it completely off the boat. This time I was able to apply more pressure, and have managed to get it just about perfect, so I am pleased with that.

I carried on through the afternoon not stopping for lunch. The main anchor cleat was fitted, then the forehatch and grommet to take the cable from the solar panel. I was half way through putting the tabernacle in place when Roger returned to put the finishing touches to the window frames. I took the opportunity to take a break and take photos of the progress made so far.

Refitting the superstructure

Part way through the day's work. Anti-slip pads, pulpit, anchor cleat, forehatch and tabernacle are in place.

Last night I had thought that I ought to take a photo first thing this morning to illustrate the point I was making in yesterday's report about the "invisibility" of the conduit I had glued in place. The idea was to add it to yesterday's report. However, in my excitement of seeing the sun this morning and my rush to get the anti-slip pads done, I forgot about it, However, I did take the photo I had planned, although I have decided it couldn't go in yesterday's report as all the bolts from the fittings replaced today are visible. After the photography session, I carried on, re-fitting the fairleads to the cabin-top and jib sheet cleats in the cockpit. Unless I've forgotten something that completes refitting of the standard gear.

It was dark by the time I packed up for the night. I was using my head torch to see to reconnect the port navigation light. The trouble is that the bare ends of the cable had been painted over. I struggled to clean it up, eventually deciding to cut off the end and feed some more cable through the conduit. Somehow in the process, I managed to detach one section from the cabin roof, so that has now given me an extra job tomorrow. I'll need to remove the excessive paint and clean up the conduit, re fix it and re-paint the cabin around it.

The conduit in the cabin

The photo I took that was intended to be taken before the start of the day's work, showing the "invisible conduit".

There is also still my special mast lowering gear to re-fit. I filled the holes on the foredeck when I stripped the boat as I need to re-site the forestay fairlead slightly, so new holes will have to be drilled when I tackle that. I also want to think about better ways of maximising the tension in the forestay, perhaps using the Highfield lever I bought a while ago.

So, to revise the list I originally wrote for Ian, with just the items still to be done:

I'm sure I've forgotten something!

Go to Top Just 17 - The Refit: Report #7

8 Sep 2011

Just for a change, tonight I'm going to start with a summary of the current situation and then explain things.

I was working on the boat, this afternoon, shaping the new gunwale strake when Roger came home and offered to help fit the new window frames. After a brief delay while we worked out which piece fitted where, it all went pretty smoothly. Roger was outside pushing the new bolts through the frames and into the cabin and then holding them steady with an Allen key. I was on the inside slipping on the washers and tightening the nuts. The idea was to avoid scratching the paint by twisting the bolts.

It only went wrong when one of the bolts appeared to get cross threaded. that didn't matter too much, I had bought more than I needed. However, it did matter when a second suffered the same fate. That has left me one bolt short. I wished I'd over ordered by more than one now, as it's a trip to Dereham to get a few more. I'll have to do that on my way to Kenilworth this weekend.

Having finished the job I have one more worry. On none of the 64 bolts that surround the windows did I think about using any sealant. I have the horrible feeling that I really ought to remove every one of them and apply some sealant before Just 17 finds her way to the water. It's a two man job and Roger isn't going to be available next week!

The Refit nearing completion

From this angle Just 17 looks ready for launch, but you can't see the missing window frame bolt.

The work on the strakes appears to be going well. The new piece of wood is slightly oversized by a millimetre or so, but the size difference shouldn't be noticed. What may be more obvious is the colour of the new wood. As I write, only one coat of stain has been applied. I hope to manage to apply another tonight and if necessary, I'll add a third in the morning. I'm hoping that will get a close match to the older wood.

I had spent the morning running around Norwich trying to buy the additional bolts that I want to strengthen the strake's fixing. I couldn't order them online as I wasn't sure of the gauge of the existing bolts, so needed someone to tell me. Once I got home I checked, and not only did neither of the two Norwich branches of Screwfix got the closest size available in their catalogue in stock, nor had the Yarmouth branch. It wasn't even available for direct mail order delivery!

The Refit nearing completion

The forward part of the strake on the gunwale has since been removed so it can be stained to match the older wood.

It turned out to be an easy job to re-fix the loose bit of conduit, though once again, the new "90 second" Araldite was nearer "Three and a half minute Araldite". Before going into Norwich to find the bolts I wanted, I did manage to buy some varnish at the local DIY store, but now I'm not sure it's ideal. It's not suitable for outdoor use. True, it is for use in the cabin and won't be outside. Hopefully, it will just lack the UV inhibitors and work fine. One advantage of the new varnish is that it is slightly quicker drying that the outdoor type.

Once back from the shops, the first thing I tackled was the starboard navigation light. Perhaps it was because I was better prepared or was doing it in broad daylight, but it was much easier to deal with that the port lamp. I still have done nothing about the mast lowering gear, though that should be a very straight forward job once I decide where to drill the holes.

Although last night I was thinking of buying some U-shaped rubber extrusion to fit round the solar panel to try to slow or stop the top surface from peeling off, this morning I was less sure about the plan. In any case, it was getting so late that I abandoned the idea of seeking out the place I had in mind to visit while I was in Norwich. At the moment I am thinking of a temporary fix: Duct Tape! It may not look ideal, but I'm thinking that grey duct tape will not only virtually match the colour of the panel, but unlike a rubber moulding won't build up a profile that will prevent rain draining off the panel and, potentially, causing more damage than leaving the top surface unprotected.

With the other tasks to be done, I didn't find time to sort out the electrics control panel in the cabin. The one thing I did return from Norwich with was the spade connector I needed. Hopefully things will all work when I connect them up. However, I suspect I will need to put the battery on charge. After all, it hasn't seen a charger or the Solar Panel since last October. I am just beginning to wonder if the time for a new solar panel and battery is approaching. Both battery and panel were bought by the boat's previous own in 1998. You could argue that both have reached the end of their useful life.

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