Log Entry 24th June 2018

Departed Blyth around 9.30, some light breezes which helped us along, at one point thought we might may Holy Island. The wind dropped and with a forecast of Southerly wind Beadnel Bay did not look too attractive so we anchored in the Kettle Anchorage overnight.

Log Entry 23rd June 2018

Departed Filey anchorage 9.00am on the 16th June. Planned to depart the night before were shelved when it was found the reefing hooks were the wrong way round on the boom, which meant the boom had ot be removed – better to be done at anchorage rather than out at sea!
It was a pleasant sail with West and South West Winds 4 -5. Arrived Blyth at approximately 11.00 pm.
Nice reception at Blyth and met up with Wayne (Jay 9), who had sailed from Grimsby the week before – and caught fire – but safely extinguished it before arrival of the RNLI. Yet another example of no fuse on the starter motor battery – we have ours – just need fitting !

Log Entry 16th June 2018

Departed our anchorage at around 20.30 yesterday to catch the North going tide with the promise of some favorable southerly wind,  what we got was very little wind from the North.  Nonetheless we made good progress to Flamborough head with the spring tide and the engine on little more than tick-over – once rounded the wind picked up on the nose ! Painful to see the tide turn and the SOG change from 4.5 knots to little more than a knot even with some revs on the engine.  The crew took a watch, which was most welcome and gave time for some sleep and thinking.  Filey Bay was only a few nautical miles from our position but with the wind was going to take hours to reach, by which time the tide would turn again – so should we anchor or not.   After an hour or so sleep at least the wind had dropped and we were making a couple of knots – so we headed close in shore to escape the tide and sure enough we made it to Filey – our first ever visit.  A bacon sandwich and much needed sleep.  The wind has now picked up and we are sat comfortable in a Southerly force 5 – where was that last night ?  The plan is some more rest and then depart either later today, or tomorrow morning – that gives the wind chance to hide and for us to rest.

Log Entry 15th June 2018

Finally we have departed Grimsby this morning bound North,  perhaps Blyth or Hartlepool being first port of call.  Currently anchored north of Withernsea at a place called Hilston – some rest and tea and then hopefully use the tide to take us a little further North as very little wind, despite the promise of some SW – I am sure it will come

Log Entry 20th July 2017

After another trip home to make new blocks for the poles  to be mounted on it was nearly time to start putting things back.

Before the pole could be mounted a smaller pad needed to be glassed in on the underside, as one of the bolt holes came through right on the corner which is partially covered by one of the plates for the back stay fitting.

The pictures below shows the pad glued in with epoxy and then glassed in :

 

In simple terms this has extended the ‘flat’ area for a plate to lie on which both supports the back stay fitting and one of the bolts for wind generator support pole.

The next job was to start fitting the exterior blocks – some new and some sanded down and refitted.  The smaller pads were easy to fit – unfortunately the larger gave a few problems, one split and the hole to take the cables in the other one went in the wrong place … a symptom of rushing probably.  Initially the wood was blamed as previously the were made out of teak and the new ones made out of poor man’s teak – Iroko.  The cost of a Teak plank was estimated to be just short of £300. The fact of the matter is Iroko should be fine, more care simply needs to be taken to avoid it splitting.

There was the another job that needed attention, that being the chip and cracks in the gel coat on the exterior, noting a repair pad had been glassed in before the balsa panel was put in place.  It was a large chip with associated cracks which were enlarged with a chisel:

 

80 grit paper was used to sand round the chip and cracks and 180 grit further out, this provides a feathering effect which helps blend the new gelcoat into the new.

Now here is a tip, the gelcoat used was pure, i.e. no additives of wax to help it harden on the outer surface – this means the outer layer must be covered, using for example a PVA solution (wax in alcohol).  This can be sprayed or bushed on after about an hour.

Gelcoat matching is an art and requires patience,  I was reasonably happy with the mix made and it was applied with a sponge brush – when it hardened it looked reasonable, and even better when it was sanded and polished:

 

I cant actually see the repair, and is one of the best done so far.  Usually I have struggled with bubbles which spoil the finish, but using pure gelcoat seems to have helped.

Today we are home again and a new set of blocks have been made, and hopefully progress can resume over the weekend.

 

Log Entry 5th July 2017

The balsa panel seemed solid enough, and so after that the two side pads were epoxied in using the same technique .. there is a limit to how often photographing a vacuum setup has appeal.

Returned home to order more supplies and prepare materials.

Over the last week we have glassed in the two corner pads, the first six layers vacuum pressed in and the remainder laid up by hand.  On the way the air has been blue as glass has fallen and flopped after being laid up upside down – it’s about as bad as it sounds.  Had it been feasible to continue with the vacuum technique we would have done but its a race against time and getting a good seal in the far corner was not easy.

Six layers of glass have been hand laid up on the centre balsa panel today,  the last three would have been done today but it was noted there was some air trapped on the over lap so that needs to be ground out first.

Starboard Corner:

 

Port Corner:

 

Centre Balsa Panel

 

Log Entry 21st June 2017

Yesterday another 4 layers of cloth were vacuumed bagged on the previous days work – a little easier second time arround.

Filler was made to fill some of the gaps where the corner pads are to be placed.  This had to be done twice as some numpty got his maths wrong on catalysing the resin … all good experience.

Today, well deep breath as the balsa panel was ready to expoxy in – all the planning helped, but as ever more challenges presented on the day, one the wind got up and blew the micro fibres everywhere whilst mixing the epoxy.  Secondly positioning the balsa panel laden with 1.5 Kg of epoxy was slightly more tricky.

Epoxy bled onto the vacuum bag, but there was no going back, best efforts were made to seal the vacuum bag, and the pump siwthched on.  Leaks were addressed and the vacuum valve showed a good vacuum :

 

Looking good, so a vacuum gauge was fitted to the other side of the setup, and this read  a little lower, no the less better than would have been possible with props.

 

The setup was left and fingers crossed.

Later in the afternoon it was noted the vacuum gauge had dropped slightly, so the seal on the vacuum bag was revisited, after much stretching and pressing the vacuum was improved as shown below.

That’s about as good as it gets, bust a pity it was in place while the epoxy was wet, hey ho.  The pump has been on for about 6 hours so it will soon be time to leave it, and then tomorrow try and peel all the layers off to see how the panel looks !

Log Entry 19th June 2017

Another very hot day, and the prospect of driving to Grimsby and spending time in the hole, was not a great.  We arrived late afternoon, it was dry, not too hot, so yes the hole beckoned.  The area for the patch was wiped with acetone, a table set up for mixing, and the vacuum pump made ready. The resin mixed, the area ‘wetted out with resin’, 3 layers of laminate added and  also wetted out.  The vacuum sandwich offered up against the laminate, and switched on.   The mastic tape pressed against the surface and the signs of a vacuum presented.  My gosh, could this be working:

In fact it was working too well as there were signs of resin in the breather layer already, so the vacuum was turned down:

All the preparation seems to have come together for a very tiny step in moving forward.  Does it matter if the patch has slipped under that vacuum, no not really, will just have to grind it out again … so what,  the achievement of laminating upside down with a vacuum is worth a drink to-night ….. yes please just note that was laminating upside down for the first time, and the first time of using a vacuum pump in earnest.

 

Log Entry 18th June 2017

Most of the day has been spent preparing the patch material, the plan being to have a go at vacuum pressing that to achieve a thinner and stronger patch.

Shown below is a close-up of the bevel edge on the corner pads and holes which have been filled with epoxy filler.  The final hole will be smaller, and thus the hole will be surrounded by epoxy, so if there is a leak it will not have an easy path to the plywood.

 

 

Log Entry 17th June 2017

The last few days have mainly concentrated on making the final corner pads out of marine ply, bevelling the edges and then gluing an identical bevel made out of balsa,  this essentially to negate a hard edge.

Yesterday another vacuum sandwich was prepared and we arrived back at the boat in the evening.

Today another dry run was attempted with the vacuum – to start with things went badly, with the layers of the sandwich slipping all over the place.   This was addressed with double sided tape between each layer – and success, a – .8 bar reading was obtained on the gauge – this being a new gauge with a separate breather unit placed away from the breather unit connected to the pump, this was evidence that a uniform vacuum was now achieved.

Good news is always followed by a challenge,  there was hissing, the tape was checked and other seals but the noise persisted.  The vacuum was that darned good it was pulling air through the chip in the fibreglass.   A piece of tape over the chip negated the hissing and the vacuum gauge moved past 0.8 bar.  First thoughts turned to just letting this fill with epoxy when the live run was done where the balsa will be coated with epoxy filler.  However, if that epoxy filler pulled through to the surface, then the new polyester gel-coat would not adhere to the epoxy.  Whilst the vacuum was still in place some polyester filler was used from the outer surface.  After the vacuum was released it was clear that the filler had pulled through quite nicely – however, now did not seem like the time to take short-cuts as that’s what got us into this mess in the first place.  Therefore a disc grinder was used to grind a bevel round the compromised area,  the plan being to patch it properly before attempting to epoxy the balsa panel in place.

Some final sizing was done on the corner pads and the necessary holes were drilled, but after that we had to return home again to get some fibreglass cloth and resin. So this evening the task has been to fill the holes in the pads and balsa panel with epoxy to ensure there is no exposed wood when the final holes are drilled for the bolts – a picture should explain better, but the glue is wet presently –  and the garage door has been locked to avoid the temptation of seeing how the glue is setting 🙂