To finish up the cabin sole, I removed and cleaned up the excess bungs, after which I could button up the interior.
To finish up the work, I installed the new winter cover for the first time, securing it as need be and adding soft chafe gear where necessary. Afterwards, with the project complete, I moved Arietta outdoors for storage.
I removed the masking from the top surface of the sole for now, after removing a few drips of epoxy from the edges, though I’d want to remask it before installation for protection from the sealant; however, I didn’t want the crusty tape to contend with during final installation, and in any case I needed to lay out the screw holes for installation.
With a router, I trimmed the overhanging teak plywood from the bilge hatch, then cleaned this up and trimmed slightly more as needed for a good fit in the opening. Then I did one more dry fit in the boat to make sure the sole still fit as expected.
Using the old sole as a rough guide, I laid out screw holes in the new sole, slightly changing the position of a couple sets since the originals had not been placed as well as they could have been near the aft end and near the smaller opening at the forward end. I bored for 3/8″ bungs, and drilled pilot holes for the screws. Afterwards, I remasked the sole, covering the entire thing once more for protection. The owner planned to leave the sole bare, and sealant could easily stain the wood without protection. Up in the boat, I masked a double-width around the entire perimeter as well, to make cleanup easier.
Before installing the sole, I took care of one small job. The buss bar in the electrical locker had come free sometime after I’d installed it in epoxy a year earlier, and though I’d re-adhered it (this time with polyurethane sealant), and it seemed secure, we decided to add some insurance, since if this buss happened to hit an exposed positive terminal on the nearby panel, it could be a dangerous short situation. Earlier, in preparation, I epoxied small teak blocks to the fiberglass above and below the buss, and now, with those cured, I added small blocks to overlap and “pinch” the buss at each end, screwing these to the wood beneath. There was no way to directly screw the buss to the fiberglass since there was inadequate thickness. I also added a plastic buss cover, which protected the terminals and probably should have been in place long before.
After final cleanup and preparations, I installed the sole by applying a good bead of sealant all around the edges of the recess, then pressed the sole into place and secured it with 15 screws. I cleaned up the excess sealant, smoothing a clean line at the seam between the sole and the fiberglass, then removed all the masking. A little later, I returned to install teak bungs in all the screw holes; these would require trimming, but I’d await that till the next day to allow the sealant time to cure.
I removed the bronze lifting ring from the old hatch, and installed it in the new one to complete the sole.
With the work list essentially complete, during the afternoon I lifted the mast back aboard and secured it in the position it needed to be for the winter cover, adding a little support amidships at the mast step to keep the mast from bowing there when under cover. I removed the protective sheeting from the cockpit and cleaned up the boat, leaving things ready for the final steps on the morrow.
Total time billed on this job today: 5.25 hours
0600 Weather Observation: Overcast, 28°. Forecast for the day: Patchy wintry mix, 35°
Now that the laminated cabin sole had cured sufficiently, I unclamped it from the bench and with a router trimmed the teak veneer around bilge hatch opening, matching the accurate cutout in the substrate. Then, I prepared the underside of the sole with a tapered edge all around to allow it to fit comfortably into the molded recess in the boat.
After several rounds of back and forth and fitting and additional sanding to fine-tune the sole and its fit in the boat, I eventually got it to sit properly and flush all around.
Now I worked on the hatch opening and the hatch cover, starting with lining the opening with strips of 1/4″ teak to cover the edge grain. Then, I cut a piece of the 1/4″ substrate to fit the hatch accurately and, after some layout to line up the striped wood colors on the teak veneer top layer, cut and epoxied in place a section of the top plywood, leaving it slightly oversized along the edges for final trimming later.
Using the old teak support cleats as a guide, I built a new cleat support from materials on hand, in this case white oak, and glued the assembly together, maintaining the opening size the same as the original. The side pieces are slightly longer than the cross pieces because I realized after I cut them to the original length (based on the old teak) that my stock was slightly less wide than the original and therefore the overall length should have been correspondingly shorter. The only net result of this was that for the opening to remain the original size the cross pieces had to be slightly offset from the cut ends; there was no reason to bother recutting the side pieces since this assembly would always be invisible till some future version of someone like me 40 years from now puzzled over it when replacing the sole the next time.
In the event, later, when the glue had cured enough, I set the assembly in the molded trough in the boat, and with the sole installed over it made reference marks all around on the supports so I could align them properly during installation down on the bench. I used thickened epoxy adhesive to secure the cleats to the underside of the new sole, clamping it securely and cleaning up the excess all around, but particularly inside the hatch opening.
To round out the work for the day, I epoxy-coated the edges and bottom of the plywood and new cleat system for protection.
Total time billed on this job today: 4.5 hours
0600 Weather Observation: Partly cloudy, 26°. Forecast for the day: Sunny, 33°
When I hooked up the new solar panel a few days earlier, I’d forgotten that the small, existing, after solar panel, which the owner had previously used wired directly to the battery with an adapter and alligator clips, needed to be incorporated into the new solar charger/controller as well. Now, removing the alligator clips from the adapter, I wired the after panel in along with the new panel on the sea hood, using some pin butt connectors that would allow the two wires to fit neatly into the pinch-style terminals on the solar controller. By still using the adapter, which plugged into the wire leading from the solar panel, one could, without affecting the hard wiring of the controller, easily detach the solar panel when the battery was not on board, since the solar panels would always be live when exposed to light. Similarly, on deck I unplugged the cables leading to the forward panel.
Beginning work on the replacement cabin sole, I began by removing the cleats around the bilge opening; these were glued and screwed in place but came off without too much difficulty. Then, using the old sole as a guide (always using the top edge), I laid out the shape on a new piece of 1/4″ (6mm) marine plywood, which would become the substrate for the 1/4″ layer of teak and holly veneer plywood chosen for the top surface. I cut out the new plywood and carefully cut the bilge hatch opening, adding 1/4″ to the opening on each side to allow for solid teak trim to rim the opening, like the original. Then, after a test-fit in the boat to ensure the new panel fit properly (just a bit oversized for now to await final trimming later), I used the new substrate to lay out and cut the teak veneer plywood for the top layer, though in this case I only rough-cut the hatch opening, leaving a bit of excess to be trimmed later once the two layers were conjoined.
Next, I masked off the surface of the teak plywood for protection, then wet out the bonding side of both layers of plywood with epoxy before returning with a thickened adhesive batch, which I troweled on with a small notch before clamping the pieces together on the bench.
There was no more I could do for the new construction at the moment, but up in the boat I cleaned up the remnants of old sealant from the edges of the fiberglass recess and made other preparations there so it would be ready for the new installation when the time came.
Total time billed on this job today: 2.5 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 23°, mainly clear. Forecast for the day: Sunny, 33°
I’d held back on one last item on the owner’s to-do list till I worked through all the top-priority projects. Now, with the rest of the list expunged, I felt I could address the last item, which was to replace the cabin sole. The existing sole, original by all appearances, had deteriorated over time and the veneer was in poor condition in several areas.
The sole fit into a molded recess in the fiberglass cabin liner, and I thought (hoped) removal would be straightforward. I’d investigated the installation a few times earlier in the project to get a sense of how it was put together. There were 12 or 15 screws, hidden beneath bungs, that appeared to hold it in place, and I just hoped there wasn’t any adhesive as well. Fortunately, once I removed the screws I could easily remove the sole, which was 1/2″ teak cabin sole-veneer plywood. There was some sealant around the edges from the original installation, but this wasn’t a permanent adhesive and didn’t impede removal.
Once I had the old plywood out, which had been my main goal for the day so I could (firstly) know that removal was possible and (secondly) to assess the replacement options, I scraped up most of the old sealant from around the edges of the fiberglass recess. This area would require a bit more cleaning and minor surface prep before I installed the replacement sole. The owner and I discussed a few options for the new sole, and I planned to start the new construction after the holiday weekend.
Total time billed on this job today: 1.5 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 19°, clear, windy. Forecast for the day: Sunny, windy, 24°
To run the VHF cable up through the deck, I needed a 3/4″ hole to accommodate the diameter of the end fitting. Hoping to get this final cable through the deck without needing to further expand the opening in the liner below, I drilled at an angle towards the centerline, which then allowed me to succeed in getting the cable through from below. With the final and largest hole drilled, now I could install the base of the new deck gland fitting, securing it with machine screws in tapped holes, and the included adhesive gasket beneath. Because the VHF wire itself was 1/2″ diameter, this left some space around the cable where it passed through the deck, and even though the rubber seal of the new gland would be the main waterproofing here, I filled the hole around the cable with butyl sealant before finalizing the installation.
Using only the existing screws securing the sea hood, I secured the built-in wires leading from the solar panel with rubber-lined clamps; this worked out well in terms of securing and neatening the wires, and gave me the space for the connectors to the through-deck solar wires. With that routing figured out, and finalizing the amount of each of the four cable sets that came through the deck, the final step to complete the gland was to install the rubber insert, which I drilled to fit the various wires, slit as needed to install, and then, with some effort, got it clamped down and secured within the upper piece of the gland assembly. I wrapped the mast wires and VHF in plastic for weather protection.
In the cabin,, I taped the solar wire pair to the VHF cable, and used this to pull the solar wires through the narrow space behind the liner and out the same opening in the forward cabin. Then, with ample slack still available in the VHF cable, and since the other end of this cable was already through into the main cabin, I again taped the wires to it and pulled them through the tight space above the galley. Then I installed split loom over the three-wire bundle and secured it along the top edge of the bulkhead in the forward cabin.
I pulled the solar wires through to the after part of the boat along the gunwale, securing them as needed, and then out into the battery area beneath the cockpit, where I led them to the solar controller the owner had provided and which I installed on the starboard side of the bulkhead where there was room and access both. I made up the wiring connections, adding cables to lead to the battery when installed. Then I finished up the VHF cabling, securing any excess length up behind the liner near the radio.
To finish up the mast wiring, I made up the connections between the new mast connector I’d run through the deck and the existing wires running through the liner beneath, then tucked the wires up beneath the liner out of the way. Finally, I made up some new teak trim to cover the wiring opening and replace the trim across the passageway opening.
With the wiring work complete, now I could reinstall the shelves in the main cabin.
Total time billed on this job today: 6.5 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 29°, freezing rain. Forecast for the day: Freezing rain, sleet, maybe some snow (probably not, alas), and rain, delightful, 35°
Investigating so that I could run the new transducer cable, I found that the existing cable–where it disappeared into the liner inside the settee locker–ended up in the bilge area beneath and aft of the main cabin, where it led eventually into the port utility/locker space outboard of the cockpit and, from there, beneath the liner and up to the electrical locker, and henceforth to the nearby opening in the bulkhead. This is a camera view held inside the small bilge access hatch, looking to port, up, and aft.
I couldn’t get a snake through the existing hole in the liner, which also contained a couple large gray grounding cables, and since the new transducer cable was larger than the old, and the old cable was already tight in the opening, I didn’t think I’d ever get the new cable pulled through that way, so instead, after confirming that the liner continued to open up into the bilge further aft, I drilled a new access hole beneath the after settee hatch in an area of clear access. With the transducer sensor loosely in place in the through hull to position it and give me a sense of how much cable slack would be required to allow for its removal and proper alignment, I led the rest of the cable aft through the bulkhead and then down the new hole into the bilge, where I could grab the end and pull it up through the bilge hatch for now. I secured the new cable, and resecured the existing grounding cables, along the way inside the locker with rubber-lined clamps, replacing the tired old cable ties that I’d had to remove to take out the old transducer cable.
Now I could tape the new cable to the end of the old one, which ran aft through an inaccessible area of the bilge and surfaced again beneath the cockpit, and pull through the new cable into the locker space there.
It would have been nice if I could have used the old cable again to pull the new one through the space beneath the liner, which would have provided a clean and simple way forward to the electrical locker where it needed to end up, but alas, this was not to be: The old cable was tightly bound somewhere within, and I couldn’t pull it from either direction. So instead, I cut off the excess and now-obsolete cable at both ends, and ran the new cable through the space at the outboard upper corner of the bulkhead, and along the accessible section of the liner (the outboard area that allowed access to the hull/deck joint and hardware locations), then drilled a hole in this part of the liner to run the cable the short distance to the bottom of the electrical locker, where another new hole allowed me to pull in the cable. I also led in the new bow light cable through these same holes and, after securing the cable appropriately and tying up the excess in the aft locker near the excess speedo cable, covered these briefly exposed wires with some split loom and cable clamps for a neat installation. Running the cable end the short distance through the liner between the electrical locker and the lower instrument opening, I left enough excess cable there to make the wiring connections to the instrument.
I prepared the end of the old speedo cable by cutting off the BNC connector and, as advised by DMI, stripped back the sheathing to expose the core (speed sensor) and shielding (ground). Now, I could install and hook up both speed and depth instruments. These instruments use an aluminum trim ring to secure them from behind: The trim ring uses setscrews to pinch the instrument housing, then three additional set screws through the face of the ring press against the bulkhead and pull the instrument tightly into position. I treated all the holes and threads with Teflon gel to stave off corrosion between the parts, and, with some new butyl sealant on the backs of the instruments, installed them tightly, then made up the wiring connections as directed.
So simple in description, but this all took 4-1/2 hours when it was said and done.
I connected the new bow light wires, which finished my work in the panel area for now.
My new solar wire arrived ahead of schedule, which meant during the remains of the day I could start the process of installing these, and the other mast wires. After some additional double-checking and final layout, I drilled two holes through the deck for the pair of solar wires, and managed to run them from above and out the existing liner opening below without too much difficulty, though I couldn’t directly access the openings from beneath. Then, before the end of the day, I drilled another hole for the 4-wire connector harness the owner liked for the mast wiring (a trailer wiring plug-type), and led these below as well. These wires would all eventually run through the compressed rubber oblong gland designed for this purpose, but at the moment I didn’t need any of its components in place. All that remained was the larger hole for the VHF cable, which I’d have to lead from the bottom up, and that would be the first task for next time, after which I could straighten up and lead the wires belowdecks.
Total time billed on this job today: 6 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 26°, clear. Forecast for the day: Sunny, 35°
Over the weekend, I applied another coat of paint to the area beneath the cockpit. Later, when the paint was dry, I removed the tape to complete the job.
My remaining work list was short, and on the surface the jobs seemed straightforward, but as with most things the potential simplicity was deceiving, and from my goings on around the boat I knew some of the work was likely to run into various challenges. Therefore, I decided to simply start knocking off the items on my list one at at time, starting with those that I thought would be easier to finish.
With the paint finished, I could pare off the new bungs over the screw holes securing the berth fiddles.
Next on the list: New scupper hoses, now that the work in the immediate area was done. I didn’t expect any great challenges here, and I pulled a short length of 1-1/2″ hose from my stock for the job, but of course right off I discovered to my dismay that the hose diameter was too small for the Spartan seacocks and cockpit drains–something I dimly remembered from work past. Try as I might, there was no way the heavy wire-reinforced hose was going to stretch over these fittings, which I measured now at 1-5/8″ (or even slightly larger at the end of the seacock barb, as represented by the measurement in the photo below).
I didn’t have this unusual size of hose on hand, of course, but digging further I did find a short length of 1-9/16″ hose suitable for the job, and fortunately it fit over the fittings without undue struggle, allowing me to finish the task at hand.
Next on my agenda was to replace the old depthsounder transducer with the new one supplied along with the replacement instruments. I couldn’t break free the fixing nut on the inside of the old bronze fitting, and with limited access and space to work in the small locker, I removed the fitting by grinding it off from the outside, as I hate wasting time fiddling when there’s a known solution. Not my favorite thing to do, but better now than later, after additional wasted effort.
With the old fitting out of the way, I spruced up the hull a bit with some epoxy where I’d ground it during the removal, ensuring it was flat and smooth, and put a heat lamp on it to accelerate the curing process. After a couple hours, I could lightly sand the small ridges, then install the new transducer housing (just a threaded nylon fitting that accepted a removable transducer unit) with sealant and its cushy washer and nut from within. I left this to fully cure before thinking about installing the insert.
The old depthsounder wire ran from this locker, through the bulkhead, and then down into a hole in the molded liner, leading aft somewhere and then miraculously showing up again at the electrical panel and bulkhead openings where the instruments were to be installed. Running the new cable was a job for another day soon, but I had low expectations that I’d be able to lead it through the same path as the old. Time would tell, but I was already calculating other possibilities (likelihoods?).
The speed transducer was not to be replaced, as the existing one and its cable were compatible with the replacement instruments. I had to check with the instrument builder because the old speed cable had a BNC connector at the end, while the new instruments had only screw terminals for wiring, but fortunately I learned I could cut off the old connector and use the core and shield as the connections required on the new instrument. This would happen in the near future, but for now I needed the instrument holes open so I could eventually lead in the new depth transducer cable.
I purchased a new VHF antenna cable to replace the one I’d had to cut apart to remove from the deck earlier, but a few days before I’d run into difficulty getting it through the same path the original had taken–a small hole at the bulkhead in the forward cabin, then a frustratingly short–but now impenetrable–distance aft to the mast wiring opening, and to where I’d eventually lead it again through the deck through a new, yet-to-be-installed fitting. These photos, dating to November 20, 2021, show the original cable and its route, which I planned (from necessity if for no other reason) to follow anew.
I tried nine ways to Sunday to get the new cable through, but was stymied each time. There just wasn’t enough clearance between the liner and the deck above to get the cable through a surprisingly complicated passage containing several ribs glassed beneath the deck, the erstwhile mast beam and stiffening. It was only a few inches, but there was just no way to force the cable through, nor to grasp it from the nearby opening.
We’d already discussed the possibility, if needed, of opening up the liner more for better (or to provide actual) access to where the wires would eventually pass through the deck, a limited area not currently directly accessible (there’s an issue for the near future), but I decided I had to increase the liner cutout going forward so I could get this new cable run. I began by removing a trim piece that spanned the passageway to the forward cabin, hoping perhaps there’d be a seam in the liner there that I could spring open further. The liner was one piece, as it happened, but now I could extend the opening slightly further forward into the center of the area the trim had covered. This proved not to be quite enough, so I extended the opening about another inch (I’d build a new cover panel and trim later), and finally succeeded in getting the new cable through the tight spot. And so it goes with liners: Convenient for the builder, challenging for everyone forever after. I led the other end of the new cable aft into the main cabin and would eventually secure and neaten up the new cable run once I’d run it through the deck.
The liner and how to run wires through the boat looked to post additional challenges for the new wires required for the solar panel, which wires I didn’t have on hand yet (due in a couple days), but would need to run from the through-deck gland near the mast, and where the panel connections would be to the sea hood panel, then somehow aft to the battery space beneath the cockpit, aft of the scuppers. There was no passage through or beneath the overhead liner, as the space was simply too tight, and I figured these wires would have to follow the path of the VHF cable to the side of the boat, where they could run aft hidden by the liner along the top of the hull and deck edge. This was a problem for a few days hence, when I had the wires, but it was pretty clear that none of these basic wiring jobs would be conquered in the easiest or most convenient way.
One wiring job I thought I could mostly figure out now, and to satisfy another punch list item, was to lead a new wire pair forward to the bow pulpit, where I connected it to the wires leading from the running lights, then secured the slack to the existing wire bundle hidden in the open space outboard of the overhead liner. I’d finish leading this wire into the electrical panel area soon, though even this was likely to present a challenge thanks to the liner (all the original wire harnesses on the boat were built and installed before the boat was completely assembled, hence the difficulties today).
The wiring buss in the electrical locker that I’d glued in place last season when the boat was here had come loose, so I resecured it as needed. (The tape is just holding it while the adhesive cured.)
At the mast, I laid out the position for the new wiring gland, which the owner requested remain clear of the pins on the hinged mast step, and which the construction of the mast beams and structure futher limited to a narrow possible space. I’d wait to drill any holes till I had all my wiring on hand so I could lay things out correctly.
With my other main works complete for now, I finished up the day with a coat of oil on the settee fiddles, to blend the new bungs with the older wood.
Total time billed on this job today: 7 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 10°, clear. Forecast for the day: Sunny, 30°
I’d been planning all week to take advantage of an unseasonably mild day in our still basically snowless winter to shuffle boats, as the Arietta project was nearing its end (with a few small jobs remaining to complete), and I would soon be moving onto the next project, which was in the other side of the shop, but I wanted to have it in my main work bay and these transfers were always easier and more pleasant when it wasn’t cold, icy, or snowy outside.
To begin, I broke down and removed the staging from around the boat, clearing the way for me to move her into the other, newly-vacated, side of the shop. I also moved in the mast from where I’d had it outdoors so it’d be ready to put back aboard the boat when the project was done after the next week or two. Then I spent some time getting reorganized and set up in the new side of the shop so I could continue working.
The remaining punch list for this project included the new instruments, which I spent some time reading about and looking into the details of installation, particularly regarding the transducers. The old depth transducer would need to be removed, and my first minor attempt at removing the nut from inside went exactly nowhere, but gave me the information I needed in terms of planning the replacement. While I’d hoped I could spin off the nut and easily remove the transducer now, I hadn’t really expected it to be like that, and now I could focus on the actual removal and other aspects of the instrument replacement in the coming days.
Similarly, for the first time I looked at the solar charge controller the owner had provided and that I needed to install and connect with the new solar panel on the sea hood, and I planned for this installation by ordering supplies I’d need (wiring and the correct crimping tool), and attempting to figure out just how I was going to run the wires through the boat. This would all come together a bit later, once I received the supplies.
In the days ahead I also had to finish up some minor interior work, including reinstalling the shelves I’d removed earlier in the project (though for now I decided to await this till I figured out some of the wiring paths), and also finish up with the settee fiddles and that sort of thing. But right now, a bigger priority was to finish up the paint work around the new through hulls and at the repaired liner at the aft end of the cabin, and I applied a coat of cream-colored semi-gloss paint to coordinate with the color of the existing liner. I’d probably need to do a second coat over the weekend to wrap this up so I could finish with the new scupper hoses in the near future.
Total time billed on this job today: 5 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 40°, fair. Forecast for the day: Sunny, 48° but falling in the afternoon.
The owner requested that I modify the oarlock I’d installed for him last year, as he’d found that it required an angle to help the oar reach the water effectively. Earlier in the project, I’d removed the oarlock and its spacer block, and now with the block on the taffrail I eyeballed the angle required to match that of the transom, which the owner had said was about right. This turned out to be 15°. Because the block was too small to cut safely, I covered it with tape and hot-glued it to a plywood scrap so I could use my saw to make the cut.
After recreating the little drain at the bottom of the block, to prevent water from collecting through the oarlock hole, I installed the block in the same position with sealant and new fasteners. I had planned to use the angled offcut as a wedge belowdecks to properly support the washers and nuts, but it turned out to be unnecessary. I’d bought longer (2″ longer, as I could get only 4″–the original bolt length which had barely been enough before–or 6″) bolts for the job for this reason, but cut off the excess length afterwards. (My photo of the trimmed bolts was misaligned but one is visible to the right of the third photo).
Next, I reinstalled the winch bases, which required a single bolt each through the deck along with the two through the coamings. Belowdecks, I secured the bolts with nuts, large washers, and, on the starboard side where there was room, a small backing plate. The angle of the liner through which the bolt protruded on the port side precluded effective use of a backing plate, so I allowed the large washer to bend itself to the contours as needed.
After applying a bead of sealant all around, I installed the sea hood with new fasteners.
The final piece of deck hardware for now was the mast step, which I installed next. Belowdecks, there was a 3/8″ bolt to which the grounding wire had originally been secured, and which passed through the deck to thread into the mast step from beneath. Later, I’d install the new wiring gland and wires, but now right now.
I prepared the fastener holes for the jib track end stops, drilling into the deck about 3/8″ and tapping the holes in the new epoxy. I installed the ends with some butyl sealant and 3/4″ machine screws, after installing the lead cars on the tracks.
In the cabin, I reinstalled the teak berth fiddles, and bunged all the fastener holes.
I masked off and prepared the small area around the scuppers and where I’d repaired the liner earlier, then applied a coat of primer.
Back outside, I bunged all the screw holes in the eyebrows. Late in the day, I pared these off, sanded as needed, and applied a coat of finish over the raw bungs.
The owner purchased replacement instruments designed to have the same footprint as the old round originals, and to begin the process of replacing them I removed the old instruments.
Total time billed on this job today: 7 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 39°, light rain. Forecast for the day: Rain and showers, 46°