February 7, 2019
One of the many areas we discussed during the owner’s recent visit was the main bulkhead, and whether–and how–to tab it more securely. As it stood, the bulkhead was tabbed securely to the hull, but not to the deck. The original setup had secured the bulkhead vertically with a pair of wooden blocks at the top corners, which blocks were bolted through the deck–sort of an oddball arrangement that I’d removed earlier. After some discussion, we decided on a plan that would secure the bulkhead to the overhead liner, but stopped short of the extra work required to remove some or parts of the liner in order to prep and tab the bulkhead to the underside of the deck laminate, which would have been the ideal answer but here was essentially unnecessary given how the boat was engineered in the first place and would be used in the future. Sometimes, common sense and pragmatism have to take precedence, and since in this case the liner was pretty tight and secure to the deck above in most areas, I felt this approach would be successful, strong, and in any event a vast improvement to the original setup. Obviously it wasn’t a perfect solution, but a decent one.
To this end, I began by checking the bulkhead for plumb, and then removed the gelcoat from a 4″ strip on each side of the bulkhead, all along the overhead, cabin sides, and undersides of the sidedecks, both on the main cabin and forward cabin sides. I also lightly sanded clean the plywood bulkhead along the edges to prepare it for the new tabbing.
During his visit to the head compartment, the owner had quickly decided two things: First, that he wanted to paint the brown colored gelcoated pan that formed the head sole and shower drain (I’d left this as original on the off chance that it could be salvaged as is); and, second, that he wanted to remove the two shelves and silly sink unit to open up (and probably repurpose) the space.
After unscrewing the dozen screws securing the little flange behind the sink and lower shelf to the adjacent bulkhead, I used a grinder and cutoff wheel to remove the shelves, which in addition to being tabbed to the hull were secured with wooden cleats on each end. Once they were out of the way, I sanded clean the hull and adjacent areas as needed. This made a significant difference to the space. and I wished I’d cut these out sooner.
Afterwards, I sanded the sole and liner area to degloss, clean, and prepare for future refinishing steps, working through the grits as I’d done everywhere else in the boat. Once I’d completed the sanding prep, I reamed out any additional fastener holes (mainly from the sink unit) in the fiberglass liner to prepare them for filling and smoothing.
The original opening through the main bulkhead was several awkward inches above the sole level in the v-berth, requiring an extra step made more difficult by the general shortness of the opening and the height above the main cabin sole as well, which was substantially lower than that of the forward cabin. During his visit, the owner quickly agreed with my idea to cut this opening down to the same height as the forward cabin sole, so now I did this, with immediately gratifying results.
In the early afternoon, after I’d cleaned up the inside of the boat, I debated whether to press on with the bulkhead tabbing, but decided that I might be pushing it timewise, so, leaving that task for next time, I decided instead to continue with some smaller jobs for the remainder of the day, starting with the rudder. This required light sanding after the latest application of fiberglass, and, with that complete, I was ready to near the end of the rudder work with the first coat of fairing compound, which I applied not only to the bottom edge but also the top and leading edges where I’d completed structural repairs earlier.
After some prep and planning for a few immediately-upcoming tasks I planned to tackle, I finished up work on my wood list, determining roughly how much lumber and plywood to order for the interior work ahead.
Total time billed on this job today: 8.25 hours
0600 Weather Observation: 30°, cloudy, an inch of snow down overnight. Forecast for the day: Cloudy, around 33°, light rain or drizzle late in the day and into overnight