January 12, 2018
I got right to work on the cockpit drains, as I wanted to mold the new recesses early and be able to remove the fittings before the end of the day. The little plug beneath the starboard opening, where I’d installed epoxy fill material from above last time, came right out as intended, leaving a nice little platform from which to work further, and the backing plate on the port side was now ready for further action as well.
Continuing, I drilled holes through the center of each side with a hole saw sized to match the diameter of the through hull threads, and with just a bit of hand sanding work to create a bevel at the top edges of the holes, the fittings rested flush with the surrounding deck, as intended.
I covered the threads with masking tape, then covered the entire fittings with a couple layers of shiny clear plastic tape, which would allow me to use the fittings directly for molding the recesses. Thusly prepared, and with the openings in the deck cleaned as needed, I applied abundant thickened epoxy to the fittings and pressed each tightly into its hole till it was flush, forcing out excess epoxy but otherwise completely filling the voids beneath with the mixture. I cleaned off the excess, ensured each fitting was truly flush and straight, and put some little weights on top while the epoxy cured–more to remind me to stay away from the corners than because the weight was actually necessary.
With that done, I turned to the day’s sanding, going around the deck as needed to sand the various fillets and hole repairs. Then, by hand and with a 4″ vibrating sander, I sanded all the areas in the cockpit that I’d not previously dealt with, namely the myriad inside corners and all the areas around the cockpit locker openings and gutters. In all cases, I ended with 120 grit paper, the last grit required for pre-primer preparation. This all left the decks in good order, though the steering room locker hatch had a couple trowel marks left over that I’d need to fill and sand once more (I filled these before the end of the day). Otherwise, the high-build primer would inevitably highlight additional detail work, and for now I’d taken the prep about as far as I could.
With warm weather outdoors for a change–never mind that it was time to do so regardless–it was the perfect opportunity to give the boat and shop a good cleaning, particularly with the door open so I could blow down the walls and corners and other areas before sweeping and vacuuming as needed, to get a start on the cleanup required before I could begin the final preparations for primer and paint.
I positioned the sea hood back on deck for a moment so I could mark and pre-drill the fastener locations. I also drilled pilot holes for the stanchion bases, now that I’d finished their hole preparation, and the bow cleats, as well as the mizzen mast step and a deck plate in the cockpit, completing for now the hardware marking steps.
Late in the day, I felt the cockpit drains were ready for removal. Gently tapping from beneath with a wooden block and hammer, I released the fittings, leaving behind nicely-molded recesses that, once fully cured, would be ready for a quick sanding dress-up before primer. The tape over the fittings, in addition to acting as mold release, also meant that the recesses were just slightly larger than the fittings to provide some room for sealant during final installation.
Total time billed on this job today: 7 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 44°, clouds and fog. Forecast for the day: Rain, fog, warm, around 53°