March 30, 2023
To begin the day, I once more sanded and varnished the coamings (coat #3).
Early in the project, the owners had asked about building a hatch to cover/enclose the after steering cockpit for storage, since they’d removed the pedestal and were reverting to tiller steering, which operated from the main, forward cockpit. I’d not made the hatch a priority, as I wasn’t sure there’d be time to do the work, but now, with the bulk of the project complete, I turned to this new task. The new locker wouldn’t be waterproof, but the hatch over top would give the owners an extended aft deck, and also valuable storage space for items that didn’t need to be fully protected. Scuppers already in place in the well would drain whatever water came through from the edges of the hatch.
To begin, I made a simple cardboard template of the opening, far from perfect but good enough for what I needed right now, and good enough to use to build a “real” template in the immediate future. Actually, I made two templates. The first one, made from random pieces of scrap cardboard, allowed me to trace one side at a time from below, and then I connected the two pieces in the center with scraps hot-glued in place. I used this version to cut out an improved template from a large piece of cardboard, which I left slightly oversized so I could trace the opening’s outline from the underside through the three access holes I cut in the top.
For the moment, all I needed to do right now was determine the size and shape to cut fiberglass as needed to begin the construction. I prepared four pieces of cloth: three for the top skin, and one for the bottom skin, which I’d apply later over a core material. With a simple “mold” created on my bench from cardboard and plastic, to create a flat, smooth surface, I laminated the three layers for the top skin in epoxy resin. This fiberglass blank was intentionally oversize, and once I had a workable permanent template, I could cut it to the size and shape needed.
Total time billed on this job today: 3.25 hours
0600 Weather Observation: Snow shower with a dusting, 31, dew point 22°. Forecast for the day: Gradually becoming sunny, windy, 35°