Upside down welding,oh, what fun! I splashed out and bought a used gas/no-gas mig welder that I found on ebay.The arc welder is fine, getting good results with it, on horizontal surfaces at least, but it doesn’t have a very long duty cycle and I was getting increasingly frustrated having to wait for it to cool down. It was costing me a fortune in tea bags…….
And now that time is critical, I need to speed things up as much as possible, and so the decision was made. The machine I bought is a Clarke 151en, a bit battered but working well, I looked at cheap new gasless welders but I’d heard conflicting reports about gasless welding and I wanted to keep my options open.I couldn’t afford a new dual purpose machine. And the budget machines didn’t have the welding capacity I need. The Clarke should cope welding thicknesses up to about 4mm.
The trial run without gas didn’t leave me impressed, very spattery and not particularly good welds, but I persevered and made a start on the hull repairs. The trouble with welding upside down is the constant fight with gravity and during the first session I learnt that molten metal hurts. A lot.I got the first plate welded in place but it wasn’t pretty. And then thankfully I ran out of wire while i still had a little skin left!So, new reel of wire and welding transformed. I don’t know if the wire that came with the machine was proper gasless wire, but the new reel definitely is and has made a world of difference, welds are a lot cleaner and neater.Welding upside down is still a challenge but by doing short bursts of welds rather than trying to get a good run going makes it easier and a lot less painful. All but 2 of the plates I have to do can(albeit with the skills of a contortionist) be reached from inside the hull so can be double welded. The only possible way to double weld the remaining 2 would be to cut a hole in the transom……..
Anyway, moving swiftly on. I finally found a hatch to replace the homemade rotten one fitted at the front of the coach roof. I actually bought 2, I was bidding on one on ebay and another came up on Gumtree, and I thought what the hell, I’ll replace both. The forehatch is a Lewmar with a built in ventilator, not sure of the make of the other. The perspex is a bit crazed in both but (allegedly) watertight. Whatever, they’ve got to be better than what I’ve got already.
Replacing the steelwork around the forehatch has been the most involved repair so far, quite a big section to cut out, and I made a mistake with the measurements (OK, I forgot to measure and guessed when I ordered the steel) so I’ve had to replace it in sections. The hatch will have to be fitted slightly (25mm) off centre because the supporting framework lines up perfectly with the fixing holes and I ain’t moving that!
As usual, got to boatyard Friday evening, did a bit of tidying up and bilge pumping after all the heavy rain this week.
Up and about early Saturday with the intention of finishing stripping the paint on the portside of the hull.
First up was to remove the remains of the rubbing strake, what wasn’t damaged was rotten and it came off quite easily.all the bolts holding it are badly corroded too. Between the wood and hull was a double sided tape, presumably to prevent water getting behind it. It hadn’t worked, underneath the tape is all quite rusty, but luckily only pitted in places, not holed.Fortunately, there is thicker steel framework on the inside of the hull in the area where the hull and deck meet, so the worst areas of corrosion shouldn’t have weakened it unduly.
Then the scraping began. Didn’t get a huge amount done before the heavens opened though, what a wonderful summer!
So,inside work. The original companionway steps were removed when I dismantled the galley,and lately I’ve been using a plastic crate as an inpromptu step. So,Saturday afternoon I set to with the angle grinder and welder and made a new set. They may only be temporary,I’ll see how it goes and nay re-design them. I probably could have got away with 2 treads rather than 3.
The photo shows them in place,but the treads aren’t properly secured yet,which is why one looks slightly out if kilter.
Behind the steps is where the batteries will live,as it stands the steps can either hinge upwards or by undoing one bolt,be removed completely.
I did have a slight mishap while welding the bracket on.i forgot to remove or even cover the battery over. Result: one battery exploding when a stray spark hit it. Luckily I didn’t get showered in acid. To err is human……
I’m all for a bit of creative acquisition of stuff for the boat, via work and friends I’ve got hold of a fair bit of gear for the boat, which has enabled money to be better spent on other areas.People know my situation and are happy to help me towards my goal, and everything, no matter how small, is greatly appreciated.
However, some people take this to extremes……
Another blog.that until today I followed, has, I feel, really pushed the boundaries.
They’ve published a list of equipment that they need.no, sorry, that they want people to donate. Sorry,guys, but you’re taking the piss!
The list includes: action cam(go-pro), wireless speakers (boss or b &o), tablet (samsung or ipad) and various other top-of-the-range items.
Anyone got a new Halberg-Rassy 42 going spare?
By all means ask for donations of spare gear.especially essentials like safety gear, but come on! Iridium satellite phone?Raymarine tiller pilot? How the hell do the rest of us manage without?
Sort the basics, worry about the luxuries as and when you can afford them.
In a previous blog they’re offering cruising time, at a price, fuck me, they want it all ways!
I spent Saturday with an angle grinder preparing all the areas of rot on the underside for replacement. I haven’t found any more areas needing treatment than those I already new about. I believe previously I mentioned a plate welded on and sealed around the edges with grp? Because of the time factor, I briefly considered just tidying it up for now, but I had the grinder in my hand and bit the bullet. I’m quite glad I did. The plate was welded over 2 other (badly) welded patches. The patches were sound but there was a lot of bits with no weld. The grp ‘seal’ didn’t. As I removed it water trickled out from behind it. I’m not sure if it was rainwater that had run the outside of the hull and found its way in, or rainwater from inside the hull. Either way it wasn’t doing a lot of good and would eventually have caused more problems.
All the areas of rot can be seen in the photos, the 3 squarish holes are where the cockpit drains and sea toilet through hulls were welded in. The cockpit drain pipework, incidentally, crumbled on removal, so that was a right decision made!
Whilst perusing through various manuals etc related to the boat,I came across this old photo of her,I’m guessing from 20-25 years ago. Excuse the poor quality,photo of a photo
I thought I had run out of storage space on board. I was wrong, but I have now!
Took delivery of all the gear for the boat yesterday afternoon,by midnight I had just about managed to find homes for everything.
I really need to organise a tip run,or possibly a skip,to clear out all the crap that’s making working/staying on the boat difficult. And yesterday’s delivery has made it harder still!
A lot of good stuff,I’ve had a cursory rummage through,and I’m chuffed to bits with what’s there. There is some stuff that’s of no use,but on the whole ,i’ve had a right result.
Included are the following:
Hasler Gibb windvane self steering gear,in vgc.
Mainsail and jib,in excellent crisp condition
Bic Sportyak Dinghy and oars,needs cleaning but sound.
4 Gibb sheet winches
Hundreds of boat magazines from the 60’s,70’s and 80’s. A lot of Practical Boat Owner included,flicked through a couple of the older ones,fascinating. Especially the prices on boat adverts!
Dozens of blocks,shackles,bottle screws etc
NASA fluxgate electronic compass.
Unused Navico electronic speed log and paddle wheel.
2 obsolete GPS systems
The list just goes on and on.
The self steering gear alone is worth probably half what I paid for the whole boat,so I can’t have any complaints.
Next weekend,back to the scraping,welding,grinding and sanding.And maybe a few pics.
I may be slightly up against it timewise,but I’m still determined to do a good job,without too many compromises. As can be seen,I’ve made a good start in removing a few layers of paint from the hull. I want to be sure I’m not painting over potential problems. A hot air gun and a selection of scrapers are doing a fair job.In an ideal world,a sand/shot blaster would have been called in but is beyond my budget and the yard owner wouldn’t allow it,due to proximity of other boats.
As yet,I haven’t found any corrosion I didn’t already know about. At the moment,I have 6 areas to cut out and replace,none of them particularly large. Two of these are old steel through hulls,1 for the old sea toilet,and one a cockpit drain. The cockpit drains are both 2″ diameter rusty steel pipe,these will be replaced with flexible hoses and proper through hull fittings. There’s one large plate(the last pic) roughly welded on and sealed with fibreglass mat. I’ll remove this and repair(properly) whatever horrors it’s hiding. There are couple of small areas where the steel is quite heavily pitted. I think I’ll probably grind these back,rust treat them and weld plates on the inside to strengthen them.
All in all,I’m quite pleased with what I have(or haven’t) found. Most of the hull will sand back to bright steel relatively easily. I think. Hope.
Always the optimist,the other side of the hull doesn’t seem so bad,time will tell when I start to strip it.
My list of jobs I need/want to get done before launch in October.
1: Strip,repair and paint hull.
2: Install new cockpit drains and bilge pump through hull.
3: Finish repairs to deck and coachroof and paint.
4:Tidy up and re-install rudder and tiller
5: Fabricate new mast step( once measurements/templates are taken,a lunchtime project at work)
6: Fit new sump gasket and re-fit engine ancillaries, and hopefully coax engine to life!
And a 101 other small jobs,not much then!
I’ve reached a bit of a milestone recently,I made the final monthly payment on Vagabond2 earlier in the month,and getting the email confirmation that it was ‘paid in full’ put a huge grin on my face.
On the downside,at work we’ve recently been changed from weekly pay to monthly,so I had a 3 week period with no money coming in,which,to say the least,has been a challenge! It curtailed a lot of boat activity for a few weeks,and so I’ve not had a lot to write about.
But that’s all about to change!
The guy that runs the boatyard where Vagabond2 had lived for the past dozen years retires in April and the yard closes. He is intending doing the final batch of lift-ins/outs in October. So,I have until then to get the boat to some sort state of seaworthiness! Bloody big ‘GULP’
Can’t possibly afford to have her transported by road,so she has to go to her new home (wherever that may turn out to be!) by water.
A lot of work to do,and write about,in the next few months then.
Watch this space to see if I can rise to the challenge! As an incentive the boatyard guy has offered me free cranage if I get done in time!
I’m quite lucky to have the job I do. The money isn’t brilliant,well,put it this way,I’ve just had first pay rise in 3 or 4 years,and only because the minimum wage has gone up. I’m bottom of the heap when it comes to earnings,but I’ve got a job at least,and it seems fairly secure. Famous last words.
Anyway,the perks make up for it a little bit,in the past week I’ve acquired a 12/240v TV/DVD combo,and better still,a top loading 3 way fridge. Didn’t intend having TV on boat,but never look a gift horse in the mouth,eh? And I was expecting to have to make do with a 12v coolbox,so the fridge is a real bonus! Mind you,it means I’ll probably have to increase the battery bank up to 4x 110ah leisure batteries on the house side to make sure of having enough capacity. Good job they’re in reasonably plentiful supply too!
Other good news, when I bought the boat,a lot of the equipment for it was in storage a fair distance away. As yet I’ve not had the means or opportunity to collect it. The previous owner is going to arrange for a pal of his to deliver it all to me,so that’s another problem solved.
I think I’ll be like a kid at Christmas come delivery day. Amongst other things,there’s a Hasler Gibb wind vane self steering,a dinghy,lots of charts,books and magazines,various electronic kit and sundry other boat-related gear. Obviously the charts will be out of date and some of the electronics obsolete,but even so,I’m quite keen to dive in and see exactly what I’ve got!