Wednesday, 30 April 2014

Painting the Internal Woodwork

I am sure there are many people reading this that think it is absolute sacrilege that we have done away with the orange wood and instead painted it white, no less! Well to all you doubting ninnies, it looks far more modern and clean. Besides, we have not painted all the wood, we sanded down the nicer bits of wood and gave them a few coats of a satin finish varnish, which looks soooooooo much better than the ultra glossy finish that the wood previously had.

As you can see from the photo below, the nice wooden bits were masked off and the bits in between were painted with Polyvine White Wax Finish Varnish in a Satin Finish.

Once this had been painted with several coats, the masking tape was removed and the remaining bits were given a few coats with the Polyvine Clear Wax Finish Satin Varnish.

The accents of dark wood against the white wood give it a very contemporary yet classic feel. I think it is rather fitting that the styling is somewhat French shabby chic, seeing as the boat is a Beneteau and originally built in France.

Removing Varnish from Interior Woodwork

It doesn't really matter whether you remove varnish with a chemical stripper or by sanding it off, either way it is an absolute pig of a job. At one point I am pretty certain John and I were both weighing up whether we could indeed live with the orange wood that seems to plague boats of this size. In the end we both decided, stripping the varnish would be easier than having to tolerate an 80's nightmare... although to be fair, it is not only boats from the 80's that seem to perpetuate this same kitsch style. It is as though boat decor is stuck in a decade from which, no one has escaped. *Shudder*

We used a combination of sanding and applying a chemical stripper. The chemical stripper we used is called Langlow Paint Remover. I have to say, it works jolly well. 

Make certain you wear thick rubber gloves, a mask and safety glasses. Initially I tried using thin Nitrile gloves but I could actually feel my skin starting to tingle and burn through the gloves. Not a great sensation!

As you can see from the next photo, the stripper has been painted onto the surface and the varnish is literally starting to bubble up:

Don't be deceived by the second photo, it is not as easy as it looks scraping it off. I think each bit of wood probably took about 4 or 5 layers of the chemical stripper and continuous scraping.

Some of the bits of wood were easier to sand... relatively speaking of course.... due to factors like the shape of the wood or because they were not too heavily varnished. As far as sanding goes, well what more can I say but make certain you have loads of different paper grades, a sanding mouse and patience.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Leak From Below......

In the original survey, water was found in the bilges in the salon. The surveyor used that old reliable salt water tester (taste) to confirm that the water must have come through something on the topside of the boat.

A few culprits immediately sprung to mind and we thought we'd nailed it when we identified leaking seals on the cabin portlights. I sealed these up with adhesive tape to tackle at a later stage and drained and dried the bilges.

Imagine my surprise after an unusually dry spell when I discovered the bilge on the port side of the keel box was wet again. It never seemed to dry out fully and I was baffled as to the source of the water.

I needed to replace the carbon steel washers on the keel bolts with stainless versions. This was an item raised in the initial survey and I took this opportunity to explore that strange looking joint at the bottom of the keel box. Poking around with a screwdriver and I managed to poke it through into what I thought was the inner part of the keel box (where the keel pivots). Water started trickling out the moment the screwdriver went through.

I let it drain, emptied the bilge and watched it fill up again! Bear in mind that the boat is sitting high and dry on a trailer about 15 miles from the coast! Eventually, after a day the water stopped draining but my curiosity was not satisfied. After all, where on earth was the water coming from? 

The hole needed to be repaired, so I used a Dremel to cut back the uneven edge and this exposed more of a hole. Water was visible pooling in a crevice. I sucked approximately 20 litres of water out of the hole using this (originally designed for oil changes but damn useful where you need to suck anything out of a tight space):

Here is a photo after I cut back the uneven edge with the Dremel.

What's clear from this is that the bottom of the boat and the lower part of the keel box is double skinned. Water had leaked into this space over a period of years filling it up. When we repeatedly drained the bilge on that side, the water within the double skinned section found itself at a higher level than the bilge, and water drained into the bilge. 

I suspect the perforation was made when the keel bolt nuts were secured. The clearance is a little tight on the port side, and there was evidence of GRP being cut away to accommodate the washer & nut. You can see this in one or two od the photos above. I think that whoever did this, realised they'd penetrated the GRP and there was evidence of some sort of sealing compound being used.

I re-glassed the area with a laminate of chopped strand mat and woven glass mat. It was a little fiddly to get behind the innermost keel bolts. 

Now all I need to do is put the nuts and new washers back without undoing my hard work!

Engine Maintenance

One of the key jobs on the list was to get a comfortable feeling about the engine. It came through the survey OK and generally looked fairly clean and looked after (for a 30 year old engine).

I thought I would start with a fairly basic service, changing the fluids and filters and the impeller on the seawater pump. At first, maintenance looked like it was going to be pretty hard to do given the limited space. I thought I'd start with the seawater pump as this looked like a fairly easy job according to the manual. Closer inspection shows this:

Yes that is worrying looking corrosion on the surface underneath the pump. Clearly the pump had been leaking for a while and the salt water was doing its thing with the steel. I got a bit of a shock at first because the corrosion looked fairly deep rather than just surface corrosion. 

I thought at this stage that the engine might need to come out of the boat to allow me proper access to this part of the engine. However, once the upper part of the stair case was removed (4 screws)  and the shelf in the rear cabin, there was plenty room to get at it.

I gave it a grit blast in-situ and then primed and resprayed the area. Fortunately the engine is a right old lump of metal and clearly has a generous corrosion allowance built in!

I had to remove the pump completely to deal with the corrosion and this gave me a better chance to inspect the pump. In removing it, one of the screws on the impeller cover sheared off and then I also discovered that one of the retaining "lugs" that holds the pump against the block had succumbed to the salt water and broken in half.

It was a fairly easy repair using a bit of heavy gauge flat bar shaped to have a passing resemblance to the real thing.

I bought a replacement seal kit for the pump and the other service items from Keypart who were very speedy with their response. 

Changing the filters and oil was straightforward and after bleeding the diesel through to the injector, the engine fired up and chugged away happily.

Friday, 18 April 2014

Installing the Insulation: Boat Yoga

Installing the insulation has been pretty hard going. It is not nearly as flexible as I would like it to be considering some of the awkward spaces that one ends up working in. On the plus side, it is a rather good form of exercise. I have called my insulation installing exercises: Boat Yoga! We ended up deciding to insulate the sections where the carpeting will be lining the hull, so I had to buy another 12 metres of insulation.... grrrrrrrrrrrrr...

I have found that the simplest way to proceed with the insulation, is by cutting sections from the roll and then cutting these sections into sizes, tailored for the bits of hull I want to cover. It is a bit like doing a puzzle and having to create the pieces as you go along.

You need to be certain that once you have removed the paper backing from the adhesive side, that you press down extremely firmly to the surface you are wanting to adhere the insulation to. Also, try make certain you don't end up sticking the insulation to yourself!

Another important note to to add about the application of the insulation sheets is that they do not like going onto cold surfaces, nor do they adhere very well on a cold day. This needs to be a warmer weather job (well, at least above 16 deg C) or you need to heat the space you are working in.

The worst 2 sections of the boat, were the heads and the transom surface in the rear cabin. The surfaces are awkward to work with and space is tight. At one point, I had my head stuck between the ledge in the rear cabin and the transom and was slightly worried I was going to have to enlist John's help to escape. I won't even begin to discuss the positions I managed to get myself into in the heads.... suffice to say, it was not fun or flattering.

Having installed most of the insulation, the boat certainly does feel more temperate with the insulation installed. It can also only help when the headlining is installed as it smooths out bumps and bits on the interior of the hull, which would definitely show through the headlining.

The insulation was purchased from Hawke House Ltd. 

Wednesday, 16 April 2014

Stripping Out

Its amazing how much stuff can be crammed into a little 26ft yacht. I discovered this when clearing out the boat so that we could make some progress on messier jobs like the headlining. The shear amount of sails, parts, accessories, pots pans and other paraphernalia that was stored on the boat was enough to fill a small house!

Here is a picture of the boat completely stripped of anything that could be removed.

Removing the old sagging headlining proved to be one of those really messy jobs. The foam backing has disintegrated over the years and removing the old lining sent dust everywhere. It didn't matter wearing safety glasses - it still managed to get into my eyes.

Removing the remaining bits of foam and glue that adhered to the hull was equally unpleasant. I found the best tool for the job to be one of these:

They are helpfully called "surface preparation wheels" and came from Screwfix. Available in both a drill fitting or one that goes on an angle grinder. Either makes short work of removing anything on the surface. If you try hard enough, they are quite good at roughing up surfaces too!

Friday, 4 April 2014

Who's the Daddy?

On the face of it, it might seem as though this post has nothing to do with boats but that couldn't be further from the truth! So, whilst it might appear as though I have used this blog to shamelessly post up gratuitous photos of cute little chicks, it's only partly true.

The point is, that these little cutie-pies have a purpose in life, other than looking cute and making a noise. They are there to serve as BBQ chicken when they get a bit bigger! They will be lovingly raised with plenty good food and fresh water. They will be allowed to roam extensively and then one day, they will be skillfully marinaded in some sort of yummy concoction and BBQd on our little mini Weber gas BBQ, which will be mounted on the push pit. I'm sure they will be rather tasty, when they are a bit older!

As you can see from the photo, the chicks are a right motley crew. The reason for this is that they are all cross breeds and depending on who the Daddy was, depends on the cross. I'll explain: We have 2 cockerels at present. Our Blue Brahma is called Boris and he is the cockerel we are keeping. The other cockerel is a Light Sussex and he is going to be eaten, hence why he has not been named. Anyway, both of them have been pretty prolific with the girls, so we have approximately 60% of the chicks fathered by Boris and the rest by the Light Sussex. The girls are a mix of various breeds.

Boris the Blue Brahma

Light Sussex soon to be Dinner
As much as I like the Light Sussex cockerel, one of them has to go! Yum Yummm....

Thursday, 3 April 2014

Bad Customer Service from Mohair Bear Making Supplies

I am close to running out of the nylon coated thread I require for sewing the headlining. I ordered another 6 reels from Mohair Bear Making Supplies on the 31st of March and I paid for a Royal Mail First Class Delivery. You would think that they would dispatch it within a day or so, considering they are offering a faster delivery service option? You would also think they would realise that if a customer is paying for a faster delivery option, that they in fact require their order faster? Well, if that is what you think, as indeed, I did, then you think wrong!!!

I checked on my order today, the 3rd of April, to discover it had not been dispatched yet? I sent them a message inquiring as to when they were planning to dispatch the order and questioning the reasoning behind them having an expedited delivery service, when in fact they have no intention of satisfying that expectation by dispatching the goods in a reasonable time? 

This is the answer I received:

1. We DO NOT do expedited deliveries!
2. We have 30 days by law to despatch an order
3. 31st was Monday, it's now Thursday
4. I don't like your attitude!
5. You won't be buying from us again you have been blocked!
 thank you
 Darren & Lanie
It seems that they have forgotten that they actually offer 3 different speeds of delivery!!!
My response was the following: 
Dear Darren & Lainie,
I don't much like your attitude either. If you are going to offer a Royal Mail 1st Class delivery, then I would say your customers have a reasonable expectation in terms of the delivery taking less than a week and most certainly less than a month.

You are quite right in that I will not be buying from you again as I would not choose to deal with a company as arrogant as yours. I will be leaving an online review detailing this exchange.



OH MY GOODNESS!!! I have just done a search to see how other people review this company and really, the ebay feedback says it all: Ebay Feedback

Mohair Bear Making Supplies actually called one of their customers and I quote: "Absolute retard". I don't think a company that behaves in this manner deserves to be in business.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Navigation station

The old navigation station needed some updating to incorporate extra instruments, USB charging points etc.

I got quite frustrated during the strip-out because there was no easy way to disconnect the multi-switch/fuse panel or engine control panel from their respective wiring harnesses. Each individual wire need to be unscrewed or pulled off a connector spade.

I wanted something that tidied wires away and grouped them into connectors for easy uncoupling. Searching the internet I found a multitude of connectors for as much as you want to spend! I opted to try something like an automotive connector for the navigation station as it will always by dry.

The connectors are available quite cheaply and are fairly simple to use. I was a bit concerned about how fiddly they might be, but in the end, it was pretty straightforward: crimp the wire into the pin/socket and push the pin/socket into the connector block (where it locks into place). Hopefully these will last and be relatively maintenance free.

I need to look at a different kind of connector for the mast wires, but that's another post (when I find the appropriate waterproof connector)


An unusually warm weekend for March and some friends over for the night meant a welcome break from some of the filthy jobs on the boat (getting rid of decaying foam/headlining!). We took the opportunity to visit Cardiff Bay and scope out the marinas, one of which will become Genesis' initial home once the re-fit is complete.

For the uninitiated, Cardiff Bay is a man-made bay formed by a 1km+ barrage separating it from the Bristol Channel. Prior to the construction of the barrage in the 1990's, Cardiff had a marshy/swampy seafront through which 2 rivers flowed, and was accessible only at high tide. The barrage created a permanent large (circa 600 acre lake) with 24 hour access to the Bristol Channel through a number of locks.  This greatly improved the appeal of Cardiff and led to a regeneration of the run-down dock area.

Our reason for choosing Cardiff as the initial mooring place for Genesis was the proximity to home and the (relatively safe) lake where we could get to grips with the boat and hone our sailing skills before venturing out into the Bristol Channel.

Why is this necessary? Well, for those who are unfamiliar with the Bristol Channel, it is tidal, seriously tidal. That is perhaps a mild understatement as the tidal range is around 14 metres (45 feet for the non-metrically inclined) at springs. This of course will produce some interesting tidal flows which might make Genesis qualify for a new water speed record for a sail boat, or leave us stranded miles from port!

We want to be completely familiar with the boat before venturing out into this, and have someone at hand with more experience than us (Big Al to the rescue again!).

Here are some pics of the lock system:

Outer lock gates opening to allow yacht in

A yacht in the lock. This was an hour or two before low tide - look at the waterline on the sides of the lock!

The lock being flooded to raise the water level to that of Cardiff Bay. Note the internal concrete "breakwater" to reduce turbulence in the lock during flooding.