Sound the trumpets!
Raise the banners!
Release the doves!
A project is done!
I finished my reinforcing of the stabilizer shaft blocks on Saturday. These are the big wooden blocks on the inside of the hull that provide a mounting spot for the stabilizers, and through which the shafts go, attaching the parts inside the hull to the fins outside the hull.
The guys who worked on them said the blocks were not as well reinforced as they normally like to see, and they recommended that I add some reinforcing material and then fiberglass the whole thing together, tying it all back into the fiberglass hull structure.
There are gaps between the block and the hull, and to fill those gaps, they gave me some closed cell polyurethane /fiberglass material. It comes in sheets like plywood, but costs about as much as solid platinum. They were kind enough to give me several large pieces, each about two inches thick.
The idea was to cut and shape it to fit into the gaps between the shaft blocks and the hull, epoxy the shaped pieces in place and then fiberglass the whole works together and to the hull and stringers.
Now if this was to be done in anything but a boat, it would have been a piece of cake.
But…this WAS in a boat, and there was to be no cake.
The stabilizers are located on the outboard side of each engine, and there is a cabinet above each, so to get to the work area, I have to snake myself between the forward end of the engine and the bulkhead in front of the engine, crouch down while doing so in order to get my head and shoulders under the cabinet, and then try to twist and turn as much as possible, to get my hands down to where the work is.
It’s hard to explain it in words, but if I’d had a video of myself working on these things, I could probably make a few bucks on America’s Funniest.
It took several weekends of work, trying to crawl in, measure, crawl out, go up on the dock, cut the piece of material, (have to do this on the dock because cutting it makes all kinds of fiberglass dust) take it back down, crawl back in, fit it into place.
Oops, doesn’t fit.
Crawl out, back up on the dock, shape it some more, back down, repeat as needed. There was lots of repeating.
This weekend though, I got the last piece fitted into place and started the fiberglass work. That part went fairly easy, but I did find out that the epoxy that I was using to wet the fiberglass cloth does not play well with hair. I still don’t know quite how it got into my hair, but for a while there, I looked sort of like the character in “There’s Something About Mary”
But…the important thing is, except for painting over my handiwork, I’m done with that project and can call the stabilizer guys to come back and reinstall all the internal parts.
Next up is the water tank. All my parts are in, I have a mental plan of attack formulated, the new tank is in the stateroom waiting, and I’m looking forward to getting the old leaky tank out and the new tank in.
My list of things to do is shorter by only one thing, but it’s a step in the right direction.