Tuesday, May 2, 2023


 After a long, cold winter it's finally started to warm up here in NH and now that I've put away the skis and fat bike, thoughts of boat projects have begun to invade my headspace again.  The new sails have arrived (Rolly Tasker) and they appear to decent enough for the intended purpose and were significantly cheaper than anything I could have had made stateside.  

The new keelbolts are also finished and I was able to get the first 2 sets in and torque'd down so I could free up the forward 2 sets to remove the old rotten ribs and have something for the keel to hold onto while I worked on those.  

The ribs and keelbolts that were in the boat when it followed me home from craigslist were obviously a mess, but part of their problem was that each keelbolt had a single 1" washer that just crushed the wood in the rib.  Seemed like spreading the load would be a better idea, so I cut some 1/8" flat bar 316 stainless to fit in the rib pocket where the keelbots sit to use as a big washer (along with nylon lined nuts to keep the nuts from backing off).  I'm pretty happy with the outcome except that when I tapped the keelbolts after installing them into the boat (I took a different approach for the forward 2 sets of keelbolts), I didn't drill straight up, so one of the bolts is a little bit out of line.

Once the keel was secured, I was able to pull out the forward 2 ribs that support the keel and grind the lumpy mess off of fiberglass that was holding the rotten wood in place.  Satisfied with the grinding, I templated each new rib and cut out the basic shapes on the bandsaw and set to work with a rasp to clean up any high spots in my ribs so they sit flat on the hull.  Next, I cut the limber holes and pockets for the keelbolts and routed all the top corners with a roundover bit so the 1708 biaxial glass will conform when epoxied in place.  

I wouldn't say I planned a different technique for tapping the keelbolts and glassing the ribs, but heavy rains and cold temps in the last week of April forced me to take an alternate approach to what I had done for the previous ribs. The new approach was to hold each rib in place while I had my son go under the boat and tap just enough so that I new where the 1/2" hole should be.  Then I took it to the drill press and finished the tap so it was straight.  I wish I had done that with the other 2 (oh well).  

I also decided to get the ribs glassed over before I put them in the boat.  Obviously, I will need to tab them in with additional glass once they have been installed, but it was certainly easier to do outside the boat rather than having to crawl around on my hands and knees for any longer than neccesary.  The temps are now warm enough to glass outside, but I'll have to wait a few more days for things to dry out before I install them. Hoping the weather will cooperate by week's end.