A hull with no holes in – oh wait!

Well this months thanks go to Nigel Thompson from the SBA who noticed signs of wavering and  procrastination in my questioning about the sequence of build operations, and stepped in to put me back on the right track….

To go back a bit; you might recall that the game plan is to clad the hull outside and in with epoxy/cloth skins. Also we need to add the “keel” (aka “deadwood”) to the bottom of the boat after cladding, and the question was do we clad the out side, then fit the keel/propshaft/rudder etc.  then turn her over and clad the inside? or do we clad the outside, turn her over and clad the inside then turn her over and fit the keel and then turn her a third time or some other combination of things…. In the middle of this agonising it was suggested by others that the internal and external cladding need to be done in one season to stop the timber “shrinking away from the cladding” due to changes of humidity in the (half-clad) timber…. and then there is a land-rover chassis sitting waiting to be mated to my winter transport and then there are holidays and bike tours in France and then…… At this point the aforementioned Nigel stepped in and said “common lets get moving I’ll come next week and help with the cladding”. and so it was to be…..

Closing the hole…

Some frantic work over 3 days saw me finally close up the bottom of the hull and fit the final planking (my previous estimates of the extra timber I needed proved to be inadequate so the last bit was done with cobbled-together scraps from the bin!!) – a few hours with the sander and it looked like we were ready to clad!



This went very smoothly (with Nigel’s assistance). The game plan was as follows:

  • Cut cloth pieces to fit the boat… (we eventually opted for laying a single piece of cloth the full length of the boat each side aligned with the sheer, and then cutting a number of cross-ways pieces to fill the gap at the “keel”.
  • So we started by marking a line on each side of the hull a little less than one “cloth width” up from the sheerline, indicating where the side sheets would finish and then cut the (4 or 5) cross lengths with a 3″ overlap on each side and between piece. (I should mention we were using pretty heavy 450gm/m2 biaxial cloth provided by Mike Bell) – we later discovered that the cloth was actually about 800gm/m2, and tripled the amount of epoxy we used! at least we should be good for ice-breaker duties in the winter months!
  • Roller on a coat of epoxy and then lay the fabric onto this, adding more resin on top and then rollering until saturated (cutting darts where necessary)
  • The next day we then added another coat of resin and then layed/rollered peel-ply on top to give us a nice finish. This is then peeled off when everything is set. I think we left rather too much resin in place, and could have got a more even finish if we had used “scrapers” to remove more wet resin thru the peel-ply, but none-the-less we wound up with a very solid looking laminate!

some pics…

…. and then cut a NEW hole…

Having admired the watertight hull for a couple of days it was time to cut a hole for the propshaft! 😦

This involved finally deciding on the type of rudder we were fitting…. We eventually decided to go for a transom-hung rudder, and this meant moving the rear of the skeg and prop back to  allow for this (the good news is that this makes it easier when diving over the side with knife in teeth to remove entangled mooring lines :-0 )

So this involved an amount adjustment to the drawings and erecting of “scafolding” on the rear of the boat to install a fake propshaft and then eye-ball with the real prop in situ to make sure the computations are correct…

The pictures below should make things clear….

The cutting was done with a holesaw to make a hole to clear the fibreglass stern-gear tube we have purchased from Norris Ltd. This involved a deal of drilling and then clearing the core with chisels… In the end I managed to jamb a chisel half-way down the hole, and had to call Louise as she is small and flexible enough to climb in under the hull and chisel out the remaining wood and drive the stuck chisel back out – she was a complete star, and rescued the day!….

1 thought on “A hull with no holes in – oh wait!

  1. sybefur Post author

    Note from the future: It eventually emerged that the cloth we were using was a LOT heavier than the 450gm/sqM indicated above (and required by the plans). In fact we seemed to be using 800gm cloth – which explained why we used far more epoxy than expected to wet out the cloth – however, it probably also means that the hull should be pretty bullet proof!


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