Sunday, April 04, 2010

Finally the Hull is Upright

Progress has been slow due to the intervention of ski season and work, but today finally I was able to turn over the hull so that work on the deck and interior can begin. In the past few months I have been sanding, putting down epoxy and 6 ounce fiberglass cloth, and then painting. All that just takes time. On the vertical surfaces each coat must be thin to avoid runs but the epoxy must be built up enough to fully fill the weave and provide a sandable surface coat. Because the cloth and resin is clear, it is difficult to spot small surface irregularities. I chose Pettit Easypoxy for the bottom of this to-be-trailered hull. It went down fairly well with a roll-and-tip technique; the critical element seemed to be getting each coat just the right thickness. I used a laser to strike the waterline, connecting 3 points on each side of the hull which I estimate to be about where the hull should float. I may later have to experiment in placement of the battery and fuel tank to achieve proper flotation. On the topsides I elected to use Sikkens Cetol. It seemed easy to apply. The directions say to apply it "liberally" for three coats. I got a bit sloppy (lighting wasn't good enough) on the second coat and experienced some sags, but it should be easy to fix.

The hull was easy to turn over. I had anticipated using beer and multiple neighbors to get the job done. Instead I used C-clamps to suspend ratcheting tie-downs from the overhead. Tightening the tie-downs lifted the boat up in a suspended sling. Rotating the hull in the sling is fairly simple. I removed the strongback and substituted a simple plywood support cradle which I then lowered the hull onto. Although I didn't weigh it, I noted that the hull is light enough for two people to lift at this point; very good for an 18.5 foot hull.

I have been looking at outboard engines. All the dealers are accustomed to fiberglass hulls which weight much more than the wood-epoxy. Thus, they have been recommending at least 60 hp, but I think that 40 hp will probably reach my powering goals.