To replace the broken and cheesy plastic engine room vents that I’d removed early in the project, the owner had had some new bronze vents made, and now that the boat was temporarily indoors at another shop where the engine was being installed, it was a good time to go install the new vents.
The new vents were different than the old, but had used the originals as a guide for the bolting pattern and to fit properly over the openings in the hull. Installation was a relatively straightforward process since I’d prepared the openings and hole locations with solid epoxy during the hull project earlier. For each of the two vents, I followed this process: Lay out the plate on the hull; drill and tap eight screw holes for 5/16″ machine screws (larger than needed but that’s how the fabricator made the vents); mill small countersinks at the top of each hole in the hull; install sealant; install vent with eight screws and clean up.
When I finished installing the vents, I realized that I’d installed the backwards, so I had to remove both, flip then so the slots faced aft, and reinstall. The correct orientation is shown in the final two photos of this series.
Total time billed on this job today: 2 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 32°, mostly clear. Forecast for the day: Increasing clouds, 46°
I’d left Skeedeen in the shop for an extra week or two–much of which was holiday time–to allow time for me to frame, and the contractor to measure for and build, the winter cover. But now, she was headed to another location for indoor storage and, later in the year, the completion of the repower project. The cover had been built but not ever completely installed because of the boat’s departure, so the only photos I have are during the initial fitting process with the cover blank. To prepare for the boat’s departure, early in the morning I dismantled the winter frame, which went pleasingly quickly and well. I hoped it would always be so straightforward in years to come.
A little later in the morning, the transporter arrived to pick up the boat, and in short order she was on the truck and headed out. It was nice to see the paint job and especially the transom out in the daylight for the first time.
Total time billed on this job today: 1 hour
0600 Weather Observation: 32°, mainly cloudy. Forecast for the day: Cloudy, with rain and wind developing, 55°
The project was mainly finished for now, other than a few final details. In the morning, Jason, the contractor building the winter cover, came by to measure for the cover so he could begin building it before a final fitting in a week or so. Afterwards, I reassembled and reinstalled the companionway hatches and bifold doors, the last of the brightwork to go back aboard.
To finish up the through hull patches on the bottom, I applied a coat of unthickened epoxy to seal the fairing compound and new fiberglass. Once this cured overnight, I’d lightly sand and apply some bottom paint over the patches.
The last detail on the transom was the flaps over the cockpit scupper openings. The original flaps had been a sort of cobbed-together arrangement of something like Irish felt and half oval, and while these may have been effective they were not overly attractive. So early in the project, the owner and I decided to replace them with new plastic flaps, but as the transom work progressed it became clear that installing molded ivory plastic flaps in the middle of the beautiful “wooden” transom would be a travesty. Fortunately, I was able to ask Renee, the artist who did the transom work, to take the new scuppers and similarly faux-finish them so they’d blend in better with their surrounds. With the completed units back on hand, now I could install them and complete the transom work.
Total time billed on this job today: 1.5 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 36°, partly cloudy. Forecast for the day: Partly sunny, 43°
For the long-term benefit, and also to protect the new paint from damage from standard tarps, the owner ordered a custom, fitted winter cover for the boat this season, and to begin the process my first step was to build a solid, simple, and hopefully easily-reusable frame for the cover. Once that was done, the contractor could come in for measurements and fitting.
I’d been unhappy using dimensional lumber for frames over the years, as the lumber tended to twist and warp out of shape, causing installation and other problems. Finding ways to join pieces of lumber and connecting them easily, strongly, and in a removable/reassemble-able way also had caused issues, largely because the wood would swell around bolts and make removal or installation difficult, sort of at odds with the entire premise.
On a small frame I built earlier in the year for a small boat of my own, I tried flush T-nuts as a way to secure braces and joints in a 2×4 frame, hoping that the threaded inserts would make installing and disassembling the frame easy, but found that the wood was too unstable and soft, which allowed the barbed nuts to spin within the lumber, and ultimately I had to replace them with through bolts–exactly what I’d been trying to avoid. This was a disappointment since this small frame was intended as a sort of test bed for Skeedeen’s frame, but ultimately it served its purpose, both as a frame and as a learning experience.
Ultimately, for Skeedeen I decided to build a frame from two layers of laminated plywood, which I hoped would help avoid the moisture and warping problems associated with the framing lumber. This method would also allow simple, flush joints between lengths of the ridgepole. To help deal with the wood swelling around the fasteners, which always made removal (in particular) and installation more difficult than it should be, I found some LDPE spacers (3/4″ diameter and 1-1/2″ long with a 3/8″ hole) that I hoped would work.
I chose 3/4″ pressure-treated plywood for the job, less because I thought the treatment was required and more because I felt the glue would hold up better over time. (I had a sheet of this flat on the ground and half buried outside my shop for 15 years, and when I removed it to throw away this past summer it was completely sound, if waterlogged: I could have still used it if I’d wanted.) So, armed with a supply of plywood for the job, I began by milling the sheet into 3″ wide strips, from which I’d build all the frame pieces.
With some general measurements for the length of the main part of the ridgepole, I assembled three lengths of my raw material–two layers of the plywood glued and screwed together. At the butt joints, I staggered the ends to create a removable, flush joint that I could bolt together. With the first three sections secured together on the bench, I rounded over the top edges with a router and 1/2″ bit to ease the corners for the cover. At each of the two butt joints, I secured the ridge with three bolts, using the plastic spacers through the wood.
Even though the bimini frame would be lowered for the cover, to ensure ample angle and snow-shedding capability, for now I left it in place so I could use it to help get the framing set up, and also to establish the height of the ridge. I used this measurement to build three vertical supports in the cockpit, and a shorter one forward of the windshield to support the ridge. I secured the verticals with ratchet straps and line as needed to stabilize the whole frame. At the top of each vertical, I created a simple pocked with a pair of plywood pieces, which cradled the ridgepole within and accepted a single bolt to secure things there.
To finish off the forward end of the frame, I ran a final piece of ridge to the top of the pulpit, where I notched the frame accordingly, and built two angled braces to support the joint where the downward-angled piece met the horizontal ridge aft.
With the design of the vertical supports essentially self-supporting, I hoped that future installations and removals would be straightforward enough, whether the ridge was installed piecemeal or in one pre-assembled section (as I did). The initial construction, including sourcing the materials, took the whole day, but I thought that annual installation of the frame should only take about an hour thanks to its simple design.
Next: The cover.
Total time billed on this job today: 7.5 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 40°, partly cloudy. Forecast for the day: Sun and clouds, 50°
In a morning work session, I mostly finished up the work on Skeedeen, starting with removing the masking tape from the brightwork maintenance, and ending with reinstalling hardware and most of the wooden trim I’d removed for maintenance.
Still ahead: Finishing up the companionway, a few odds and ends, and building a frame for a new fitted winter cover.
Total time billed on this job today: 3 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 34°, mainly cloudy. Forecast for the day: Cloudy with rain in the afternoon, 43°
As is my wont, I started the day with a brief round of sanding on the companionway doors and hatches to prepare them for a second coat of maintenance varnish. I also sanded and varnished again one of the cabintop handrails, as this one had worn strangely the season before and I wanted to get some extra coats of varnish on it now.
Armed with new fasteners, I continued with the swim platform installation, securing the three angle brackets to the transom with “bo-koo” sealant and the new #14 fasteners.
With the brackets in place, I could install the platform, securing it from beneath as needed with new fasteners through the brackets and into the teak. This really finished off the new transom. New scupper flaps to cover the scupper openings would come soon; they were up with Renee being faux-finished to blend with the transom.
Next, I reinstalled the three sets of stainless steel half oval moldings on the rubrails and stem. I secured these with new fasteners and butyl sealant.
In the cockpit, I quickly wired up the new stern light, mating it with the wires left from the original installation.
In the engine room, I picked up where I left off several weeks earlier when I’d just finished painting the space. Now, I reinstalled the large wire/hose bundle along the starboard side of the engine room as it had been originally, and a smaller bundle to port as needed. I reinstalled the battery storage trays and left the negative engine cable loose pending the engine reinstallation sometime later.
I led new 3″ vent hose from the hull vent boxes and into the engine room, generally following what had been there originally and clamping the hoses to the boxes in the narrow spaces outboard of the cockpit. There were three intake vents, plus the blower vent to starboard. At the owner’s request, I replaced the electric bilge blower with a new version in the process. ONce the large hoses were in place, I reinstalled a couple vent hoses that I’d removed for access before.
With the project winding down, I turned to one of the last items on my work list, which was to re-secure a set of socket mounts on the engine box, which held a removable tubular and wooden backrest that the owner used. The sockets, which I’d installed some years before, had become a little loose, so I removed them and, after cleaning up the old sealant, tapped the screw holes for the next-larger fastener size (#10). The larger fasteners fit well in the socket bases after I slightly enlarged the existing holes, and I applied sealant and resecured the sockets with the new fasteners.
Total time billed on this job today: 6 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 61°, cloudy, humid (November?) Forecast for the day: Cloudy and becoming cooler, 48°
After lightly sanding the fresh first coat of varnish on the deck areas, followed by vacuum, solvent wash, and tack rag, I applied a second coat of varnish to all areas.
This took most of the morning, and I had an unrelated commitment during the afternoon, but before leaving the shop for the day I prepared as necessary and applied the first coat of maintenance varnish to the second sides of the companionway doors and hatches.
Total time billed on this job today: 4 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 48°, clear. Forecast for the day: Sunny with increasing c louds, 68°
To begin the day, I finished up masking the brightwork along the exterior sides of the windshield, forward hatch, handrails, and bow platform.
I didn’t have enough time to comfortably do the first coat of varnish before lunchtime, so instead I turned to the swim platform brackets. Knowing I couldn’t reach the inside of the hull from any of the existing access ports in the cockpit, I’d come up with a plan to install the fasteners remotely, in reverse of how I removed them. Because there was no way I could fiddle with separate washers and nuts to secure the bolts, I purchased flanged locknuts that would do the job on their own: These nuts had a base as wide as the original washers that had been in place, and also featured a serrated mounting surface that would help lock the nuts in place. This type of nut would also fit nicely in the end of the socket to make it easier for me to start the threads from three feet away.
After testing and proving the concept on the port side with a dry fit, I gooped up the bracket heavily with sealant and, using tape to secure the bolts from outside, used a long set of ratchet extensions to thread on and eventually tighten the nuts from inside to the extent possible, then, with the ratchet and extensions taped in place, I finished tightening the bolts from outside with a screwdriver.
I repeated the process with the starboard bracket.
The center bracket was more straightforward since there was an access hatch located so I could actually reach these fasteners.
I would have liked to continue with the angled support brackets that supported the after end of the platform, but I found I didn’t have the right screws in stock to replace the originals, so I held off for now.
After lunch, I got to work on the first coat of maintenance varnish on the windshield, companionway, helm area, handrails, forward hatch, and anchor platform.
With a bit of time left in the day, I reinstalled the trim tab cylinders and resecured them to the boat and trim tabs as necessary.
The original stern light, which I’d removed from the transom early in the project, was in poor condition, and I purchased a LED replacement, which I installed now. I bedded the fixture and wiring hole with butyl tape.
Total time billed on this job today: 6.75 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 40°, clear. Forecast for the day: Sunny, 71°
Now that the hull paint work was finally complete, I could focus on the remaining work list, including brightwork maintenance and reassembling the boat after the paint and engine room work earlier.
The remaining brightwork on deck was in generally good condition after a season. I began as usual by removing any hardware that I could.
Next, I sanded all the brightwork with 220 grit to prepare it for the maintenance coats of varnish ahead. Afterwards, I vacuumed and solvent-washed all areas to remove sanding dust.
During what remained of the day’s available time, I began masking around the woodwork, starting in the cockpit and helm area. I’d finish up the outboard sides of the windshield and other areas next time.
Total time billed on this job today: 5.75 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 48°, foggy. Forecast for the day: Becoming sunny, 68°
After an overnight cure, the clear coating on the transom looked just as good or better as just after spraying. This pleased me.
With the spraying finally complete, I was anxious to remove all the masking and get a first look at things with the boat fully exposed once more. After several weeks with the boat wrapped up and inaccessible, I looked forward now to getting on with the final work list before completing the project for now.
Next: Reinstalling the swim platform, hardware, and trim tabs; and the remaining brightwork maintenance.
Total time billed on this job today: 1 hour
0600 Weather Observation: 46°, mainly cloudy. Forecast for the day: Clearing, 66°