Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Chain locker and deck hatch

Some time ago my brother sent me some pictures of the deck access hatch he made for the chain locker on his C&C. Since then I've been pondering converting the Alberg's chain locker into a deck access only, self draining locker and making the forward bulkhead a watertight bulkhead thereby keeping the chain locker smells out of the cabin. After finding some moist spots in the area on deck that I was going to have to re-core anyway, I decided to go for it! I cut the shape of the hatch out of the deck and set to work preparing the chain locker; grinding the areas to be tabbed etc.

Forward bulkhead

Bottom platform for the chain locker with 1st layer of biaxial glass

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Procured an engine

We received a call to survey an O'day 27 sailboat that had fallen over on the hard and stove in the starboard side of the vessel. The vessel was a total loss. Several weeks later the underwriter called us and asked if we'd like to put in a salvage bid, we did so and bought the vessel. It had a nice little 8HP Yanmar diesel engine in it. The engine is on the small side for my project but the price was right so we set to work removing from the Oday. Since the boat was totaled we cut a hole in the side of the hull with a 4" grinder with a cutting disk in it, cut the cockpit out of the boat with a sawz-all, and lifted the engine out through the hole.
With a little work and several oil changes we had the engine running smoothly. Next spring the Alberg should be ready to receive it!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Rains have come

With a rain front moving in we hastily placed a tarp over the boat. It was the first of many to come so we shifted our efforts to building a suitable shelter.

We had the frame for a portable "garage" shelter given to us after a windstorm had blown it across the boat yard and damaged some of the support legs for it.
The upper pipe frame was in good shape so we thought we'd attach it to some pipe brackets at the top of free-standing 4x4's anchored in concrete pier blocks. The idea looked good on paper but was impossible to execute. We did not have enough hands to line up all the posts with the frame as we tried to fit the frame into the pipe brackets over the boat. We'd get two posts lined up and the frame in the brackets and then move on to two others, then repeat the process with the rest. The frame started to twist, someone yelled "Timber!", and the whole think came crashing down domino style as the posts leaned and twisted sideways and gravity took over. The posts on the ground and the frame a twisted mess atop the boat.
Several days later we attempted "Plan B": Line up the 4x4's on the ground, screw in cross braces and a top plate, then raise them and lean them against the boat. Do the same for the back wall, then assemble the frame on the ground and carry it over the bow and place it in the brackets. Once that was done we put a post at the bow and cross braced the whole structure and pulled two large tarps over the whole thing. This provided us with a shelter with suitable head room to continue to work on the project over the winter.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Making Bulkhead Templates

With a round of summer colds hitting our crew we switched from grinding and sanding to making templates, a job we could do without wearing masks (except when cutting the wood).
We ripped 4x8 sheets of 1/8" mahogany plywood into 2" strips and then used the chop saw to cut them into various lengths; 2", 3", 2', 3', and 5'. Using a hot glue gun we spot glued the longer strips to the basic shape of the bulkhead and then glued the 2 & 3 inch pieces to those strips to form the complex curves. Using this method the bulkhead templates are formed quickly and easily and without the use of a tape measure, pencil, etc. The templates are then carefully popped loose and carried into the workshop and laid onto 1/2" OSB (oriented strand board /chip board). The shape is drawn onto the OSB and cut out with a jig saw.

The OSB bulkheads are then carried into the boat and fitted and adjusted as required. The OSB is only seven bucks a sheet and allows us to make adjustments and changes on an inexpensive piece of wood rather then going directly to a $165 sheet of marine plywood and risking a mistake.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Almost finished grinding the tabs

My brother Russ recently refit his C&C 35 and suggested hosing down the interior and using the wet vac to remove the sludge rather than vacuum it out dry which continuously plugged the filter. What a great suggestion! It worked like a charm. Blake, Chris, Ty, and I formed a bucket brigade: Me below with the hose, Blake in the cockpit manning the vac, Ty on the ladder, and Chris on the ground. I would grind away for an hour or so until the layer of dust made it difficult to see were I was working. Then the boys would come out of the house and lend a hand hosing and empying the vac for fifteen minutes. Then it was back to the grind for me, and the house for them until the next round. It made for a much cleaner and comfortable work environment.
At the days end we fired up the BBQ and had a great feast of ribs and burgers.

Sold the car to help finance the project

With the boat project taking up most of my time and resources it was time to sell the GT.
It was not easy to let her go (I loved that little car) but it was purchased by my stepson Blake and has stayed in the family. He has promised to let me drive it from time to time,.....if I'm good,.......and he's not grounded..........

I purchased a little Honda 80 scooter, mounted a basket on the back, and have been using that to commute to work and to run out for parts. It gets 115 miles per gallon and is the perfect vehicle for small part runs to the hardware store. The boys smirk and tell me its ok "for a guy my age", and that I still look cool,.......even on the scooter. Ya right!

Removing the Floor

There was a plywood floor that had been installed much higher than the original that had to be removed. It was bedded in a mixture of polyester resin and chopped fibers. Much of the mixture was improperly mixed when applied, and as I ground it out I kept hitting large pockets of uncatalized resin. The flap disk would bog down as the goo clogged the disk and the fibers wound around the shaft. It was slow going but eventually the floor was freed and tossed over the side.

Below the floor was a large holding tank that was poorly constructed and had to go. I heard the high pitched soundtrack of a horror film in my head ("reee,... reee,... reee,... reee") when I lifted the floor and set eyes on it for the first time, knowing it may have been used and had to be removed,....piece by piece.

I suited up for the job and went below with small sledge hammer, pry bar, and grinder.
After several carefully aimed swings with the hammer the top of the tank was loosened and then pried off. The tank was clean and dry and unused! Knowing I was not about to unleash a deluge of effluent I proceeded more aggressively and soon had the tank apart and the pieces tossed over the side.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Leveling the boat

Leveling the boat with a rotary laser

The wasps have moved in again! We have removed no less then ten nests in various states of construction. Every time we think we've plugged all the holes they find a way in and start building again! I peeled off my respirator and grabbed a can of bee killer from the shop, hopped below and exterminated the little buggers! I should have put my mask on first; I managed to dislodge some fiberglass dust and got it in both eyes. It didn't seem to bother me much and I though nothing of it,.......that is until 0530 when the pain woke me. My eyes were red and swollen and I could hardly see. My wife drove me to Walmart to to fetch a bottle of eye rinse with the little eye cup to fill and place over the eye. We asked the sales clerk who was standing in the eye care aisle where we could find some sterile solution. "We don't have any sterile eye solution" she said. I described my situation and asked if they had anything that could help. She was adamant that they had no sterile solutions and I was outta luck. I thought about this for a moment and realized that all the eye solutions must be sterile. I pointed this out to the clerk who replied "well, its not sterile once you open it". Ok says I,......can you direct me to a bottle of sterile right now,....but not once I open it,....eye solution please. She gestured down the aisle and off we went. We procured a bottle with an eye cup and made our way home. After several rinses my eyes started to feel a little better. I have custom spectacles being made for my respirator but until they are ready (in about 10 days) I have to wear contacts lenses when wearing my full face respirator.
With my eyes being tender for several days I was unable to wear contact lens and had to do something other than grind fiberglass. We rented a rotary laser level and set it up near the boat at the hight of the water-line. When we sanded the hull we found a second line lower than the first, we decided that being the older line we'd use it as the benchmark for leveling the boat (and judging by the numerous layers of paint over it we thought it may well be the original line). The hardest part was adjusting the laser so it would strike the line amidships. Once we had that dialed in it was a simple matter to move jacks around the cradle to make the necessary adjustments.
The temperature has hit 100 degrees in the yard today, much hotter in the boat! Working in Tyvek suits in that heat is not possible, at least not for me. Instead the day was spent in the much cooler garage sanding teak moldings and applying coats of satin Poly Wipe to them. I've prepped enough for two bulkheads and will prep more when its too hot to work inside the hull.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Sanding and more sanding, inside and out!

aChris and Tyler have gotten the hull sanded down to the final two layers of old bottom paint. They are taking care and are going down through the layers slowly. They alone have done the boat from the waterline down and have been staying with the project and are doing a great job. THANKS GUYS!! They have kept me motivated and on task on the interior while they sanded the hull. I used a Dewalt 60 grit Zirconia Flap Disc in a 4" electric grinder and sanded down the old tabbing on the interior. The flap sander made it a simple task although it did make for a lot of fiberglass dust. I'm starting from the bow and working my way aft.
I used an air DA with 180 grit disks to sand the gelcoat in the chain locker. It made a lot of fine and heavy dust that drifted down the hull and gathered in the V of the bow. I stopped often to vacuum it up. The dust clogged the filter of the shop vac very quickly. I had to stop and clean the filter more frequently than I would have liked. The gelcoat dust on the filter was so evenly dispersed it resembled frosting on a cake and formed a layer 1/4" thick rendering the vacuum useless after only a couple minutes use. I wanted to reinforce the hull-deck joint from the inside with West system epoxy and biaxial cloth. To do this it required the removal of the gelcoat and a good scuffing-up of the glass that was not gelcoated. The area is hard to get up into with power tools. I tried a variety of tools without success, they were too big or chucked at the wrong angle to allow the bit to get into the small space. I purchased a 120 degree die grinder and tried a variety of accessories (pictured above) to get into the space. The large wheels (upper left) where too much for the die grinder and immediately stalled it out. The die grinder would operate with light pressure with the medium sized flap wheel (lower left) but the pressure was not sufficient to get the desired results. The wire wheels (lower right) worked very well but tended to cut groves along the edges of their diameter. I finally settled on a one inch diameter flap wheel (pictures in the die grinder); it worked very well, was easy to control, and wore itself into the shape of the area I was sanding which made it easier to control.

We have been using 3M respirators with particulate cartridges when we sand (pictured above) and change the cartridge type when we use resins etc. We wear Tyvek overalls with hoods and buy the XXXXL size. Even the skinniest guys on our crew prefer the largest size. Yes, they are baggy when worn in the warm season (without coats on). But they allow for a lot of air movement inside the suit to help keep you cool and we rarely tear the crotch out of them when bending or stretching into awkward places (an all to often occurrence with the smaller sizes). Head socks and rubber gloves complete the ensemble.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

We'll sand the hull for Monsters!

I was sanding the topsides the other night when my stepson Ty (16) and his buddy Chris (18) stopped by and found out I had a few Monster brand energy drinks I had bought for the road and had not drank, to me they taste like paint thinner. They love them and said they'd sand one side of the hull for two each! They reacted just like Scooby-Doo getting a Scooby snack! "we'll do the whole boat for Monsters!" They offered to sand the boat while I was at work but I didn't want them hitting the hull when I'm not there to watch,.......or else they would probably think; if 180 grit is good, 80 is better, and 40 is best!! They'd flatten her round bits in no time! They arrived the following evening as scheduled and got busy. Ty on the DA sanding the hull and Chris on deck removing the cap rail. When Ty realized how much work was involved in sanding the hull there was talk of a mutiny and I had to think fast and get some pizza's coming to quell the uprising. They both did a good job and within a couple hours we had the entire rail off the boat and a good portion of one side of the hull sanded.

This is a picture of Ty doing his first bottom job when he was eleven years old. He's a good worker and I sure appreciate having him around to lend a hand!

Monday, June 18, 2007

Interior blues

This is a picture Kim took of me getting a feel for the interior layout.
The drawings were provided by Hugh McCormack; a fellow Alberg 30 owner (hull #39) from Newfoundland Canada. Thanks Hugh!! The drawings have been a tremendous help, I had them laminated and refer to them daily!

The interior looking aft

The interior looking forward


With the cradle lowered onto the ground I started sanding the hull to remove the Grey primer from the waterline up. I still have to level the boat and support the front of the cradle,...but I just had to get started and unmask her boot-stripe and previous paint scheme.

Unloading the boat (photo's by Carl Riegert)

The cradle has been lifted off the trailer using the "yard arm" jacks and the trailer moved forward and out of the way.Lowering the cradle onto the ground.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Going to get the boat!

June 6th, 5:37 pm. Hitting the road for the long drive to Cleveland Ohio to get the boat.
The weather forecast suggested we would encounter extreme conditions; snow, high winds, rain, hail, lightning, and tornado's!

Going over the first pass the temperature dropped to 32 degrees and we found ourselves entering a blizzard. The visibility soon dropped to only a few feet in front of the vehicle.

Almost halfway there! The weather is torential rains, lightening, and high winds.
Gary transferring diesel from the 100 gallon tank in the pick-up box.
I measured the wind speed with a hand held gauge; 40 knot's sustained, gusting to 50!
Frank, the previous owner of the vessel met us at the marina to transfer the boat from his trailer onto ours. He is a kind and generous man who refused the offer of payment for bringing the boat to the marina and helping with the transfer, even though he had to drive a good distance to get there!
The travel-lift operator was a shirtless obnoxious fellow who appeared very put off and inconvenienced by the prospect of actually having to get off his ass and do some work.
When he did the lift he was often confused and got his "right and left" mixed up and had one hell-of-a-time performing this simple task. He compensated for his apparent incompetence by shouting obscenities at us, the customers, and at one point told us we looked "F****** retarded!" while we were pointing in the direction the boat needed to go to be lined up straight on the trailer,......which was of course the opposite direction than he actually moved it.
The large tip I had taken from my wallet and placed in my front pocket to give him when we were done stayed in my pocket.

Ready to lift

We got the boat loaded onto our trailer. The lift operator asked if we could strap the boat down in the lot across the street. We had just finished strapping her down and the heavens opened up and let loose a torrential downpour!

We had drove straight through from Idaho to Ohio and after loading the boat. Gary and I were very tired. We drove a few miles to a local hotel, got a room and got cleaned up. Gary bought us a celebratory dinner in the hotel restaurant and we feasted on gourmet foods and toasted the successful first half of the journey.

Halfway home we had a blowout on the trailer and had a 30 minute pit stop to change it out.

When the tire blew it threw rubber onto the hull. You can see the black marks in the picture where the rubber bits bounced off the hull.

Along the way we watched several truck drivers bounce off the rumble strip as they dozed at the wheel. This fellow (lower right in the picture) went right off the road and dug a deep furrow in the meridian. Fortunately, he was able to keep the truck upright.

They were trying to figure out how to get him "unstuck" as we passed.

On the home stretch! The weather is beautiful.

We made it! Home at last!

Building the cradle Part Two

June 2, 2007

We set a departure date of June 6th to fetch the boat and got busy finishing the cradle.

tack welded
Cradle mock-up inserted into trailer
Welding the cross beams

Laying the rails.